The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) has warned that the country could suffer a rice shortage this year following the negative impact of COVID-19.
This is if the government does not roll out incentives for rice farmers to produce sufficiently to meet the country’s needs.
Ghana imports about US$1 billion worth of rice annually to meet her monthly rice demand of 940,000 tonnes.
But according to the association, the COVID-19 induced lockdown in rice importing countries and the destruction of rice farms in Northern in 2019 Ghana pose a food insecurity threat to Ghana.
Speaking to Citi News in Bolgatanga, the Head of Programmes and Advocacy at PFAG, Charles Nyaaba, impressed on the government to urgently support rice farmers to produce enough rice.
“We rice farmers are willing to produce enough rice for this country, the government should come out with a package that will help rice farmers expand our farms. If we don’t take time and the lockdown in developed countries like America and other countries we import our rice from continuous and we are unable to import and we don’t get that support to continue to produce and expand our farms there is a likely to be a shortage of rice in the Ghanaian market”.
“The only way to prevent this from happening is to support we the rice farmers not only those in the valley’s but other parts of the country to produce sufficient rice to meet the country’s demand. The government could get us inputs like fertilizer or seeds to produce and payback, they could also connect us to the banks for credit at reasonable interest”, he added.
Mr. Nyaaba also bemoaned the neglect of rice farmers whose farms were ravaged by bush fires despite several assurances by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
“Most farmers’ rice farms were burned. I personally lost 55 acres of rice fields, we had several engagements with the ministry of food and agriculture and they agreed to compensate we the farmers who lost our rice farms so that we will be able to farm this year.”
“We made several follow-ups but as we speak, we have not received a pesewa and it’s a serious challenge for us now because with the COVID-19 getting credit to expand our rice production is a problem and we were expecting that if that support came it will help us expand our production. We are appealing to the government to come out with a package for rice farmers to expand our farms.”
Mr. Nyaaba also commented on assertions that the Ghana Buffer Stock Company purchased their rice in the Fumbisi rice valleys in the Builsa South District of the Upper East Region.
“We got market for our rice but that market is not from Buffer Stock, the market was coming from private rice businessmen. I must commend Anvash company. They led the process and I was part of those who went round to mobilize the rice everywhere in Northern Ghana. But for the Buffer Stock Company, they never came to buy any rice from us and that is the fact.”