The Ghana Inter-Professional Body (GRIB), in collaboration with the John Agyekum Kufuor (JAK) Foundation, has today, September 08, 2019, celebrated the Ghana Rice Festival at the Afua Sutherland Children’s Park in Accra.
The event marked under the theme: Achieving Rice Sufficiency in Ghana; the Role of the Investor witnessed attendance from members and executives of GRIB, which is largely made up of rice farmers and other persons along the rice value chain.
Delivering his welcome address at the ceremony, National President of GRIB, Nana Adjei Ayeh II said, GRIB is looking forward to growing its relationship with the Kufuor Foundation which has provided great assistance to his organisation in ensuring the sustainability and growth of the rice industry in Ghana.
He noted that the rice grown in Ghana can be said to be the best considering its quality and the nutrients it contains.
Nana Ayeh appealed to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to adopt policies aimed at solving the problems currently facing the rice industry in Ghana.
He further called on the ministry to provide mechanisation support for rice farmers, as well as a special allocation of fertilizers for rice farmers, at a subsidised price.
He also appealed for credit facilities in the form of soft loans for rice farmers.
“We also plead to government to also help us get or work with financial institutions to be able to get soft loans or concessionary loans. Currently we are borrowing at the rate of 30%, which almost or near impossible for farmers to do business.”
The Chief Executive Officer of the John Agyekum Kufuor Foundation, Prof Baffour Agyeman-Duah who also spoke at the ceremony, reiterated the request by the president of GRIB saying such inputs are important in effective rice production.
In sharing his expectations for the rice industry, Prof Baffuor said he is hopeful the rice industry in Ghana will be able to meet its target of increasing rice production in order to end the importation of rice into the country by 2023.
He urged government to use homegrown rice in feeding schools in the country as a way of boosting rice consumption in the country. He also announced plans being made by the foundation for GRIB, including District Business Centres where equipment for rice production will be made available for farmers.
Patrick Robert Ankobiah, Chief Director at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, who graced the event on behalf of the Minister in delivering the minister's speech said, the idea of achieving rice self-sufficiency by 2023 falls in line with the president’s vision of a Ghana Beyond Aid.
Whiles indicating his notice of the requests made on the ministry by GRIB, Mr Ankobiah said most of the concerns raised are currently being taken care of by some policies being undertaken by the ministry.
“Talk about mechanisation, the minister on behalf of government and the ministry is equipment and machinery, including rice millers from India and Brazil.”
He urged the members of GRIB to effectively play their roles in achieving the quest to make Ghana a rice self-sufficient nation.
The Ghana Rice Festival is an annual festival used to celebrate the local rice industry. Various producers and industry players were present at this year’s event to exhibit their products.