Deputy Minister of Information, Pius Enam Hadzide, is encouraging Ghanaians to patronise locally produced rice for economic growth.
He explains that such move will boost farming for food security.
Speaking on Citi TV’s current affairs program, The Big Issue, Mr. Hadzide stated that though government has a role to play in the production and promotion of locally produced rice, the final decision lies with the ordinary Ghanaian.
“Government can do as much but critically, at the end of the day, the ordinary Ghanaian also has a role to play, which is to make the deliberate decision in the national interest that, we have a problem, we have to deal with it, and we are going to begin to see a shift in our taste,” he said.
“We can produce as much as we can but we first of all need to have a market and the ordinary Ghanaian has to be prepared to consume rice made in Ghana,” he added.
On her part, a Policy Advisor at the John Agyekum Kufuor Foundation, Nana Ama Oppong Duah, also attributed the difficulty of Ghanaians patronizing local rice to perception.
She called for more to be done to project locally produced rice in a positive light.
“I think it is about perception. Some years ago, we always thought Ghana rice had stones, packaging also wasn’t very nice. So, there is this perception in people’s minds that Ghana rice is not nice. It is not aromatic and it has issues but ten years down the line, things have changed. Now we have the Ghana Standards Authority, Paddy Standards, the Mild Rice Standards that we have supported…and because of that we have also ensured that the quality of the rice that is on the market now is different. It is meeting the international standard,” she said.
“Another thing that people have about the perception is that Ghana rice is expensive. Interestingly, Ghana rice is very competitive, for example if you pick a five kilo bag of Gahna rice, it is about GHS25 to GHS30 and the foreign rice ranges from GHS30 to about GHS80 cedis. So, the perception in people’s minds are different from the reality and that is what we are seeking to change with all this awareness,” she added.
Consumption of local rice
Earlier this week, the Chief Executive Officer of Citi FM/TV, Samuel Attah-Mensah declared himself a campaigner for the consumption of locally-produced rice in the country.
As what started as just a social media post by the CEO of Citi FM/Citi TV, Mr. Samuel Atta-Mensah about what he experienced on the rice fields in the Northern Region, the campaign has caught up with a lot of people.
The campaign is also to encourage Ghanaians to consume locally produced rice to grow the Ghanaian economy.
Currently, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, says it is in talks with 20 major importers of rice into Ghana to get them to rely on locally produced rice for both domestic consumption and export.
Also, institutions like the Ghana Buffer Stock Company have stepped in to support some rice farmers in the Upper East Region and the Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has voiced his support for the production and consumption of local rice.