Deploying robotic scarecrows to ward off stubborn birds from rice farms is expensive – a major cost factor in the production of locally-grown rice – which makes it a bit more expensive than the imported brands, Ms Lily Marie, the Managing Director of AgroKings, producers of Nana Local Rice has said.
There is a growing campaign on social media for the purchase and consumption of locally-produced rice in Ghana, especially as the festive season draws closer.
However, the cost of locally-produced rice relative to imported brands has been singled out by Ghanaians as a major disincentive for its consumption.
Ghanaian actor John Dumelo, who is aspiring to become the member of parliament for Ayawaso West Wuogon, recently stated amid the buzzing social media campaign for local rice consumption that if the price of locally-grown rice is not reduced, the advocacy for its patronage will be in vain.
According to him, imported rice is cheaper on the market and, therefore, will always be preferred by consumers.
Speaking to the price concerns on the Executive Breakfast Show (EBS) on Class91.3FM on Tuesday, 26 November 2019, Ms Marie explained that a lot of factors, including the significant amount of investment put into warding off birds, adds to the cost of the final product.
She told show host Benjamin Akakpo that: “Local rice is expensive because of our inputs: you’re talking about certified seeds, fertilisers, some of the chemicals that will be used, you’re looking at tilling of the land, you look at your machinery services”.
“One aspect of it, which is really expensive is actually scaring off birds on the farm. You actually have to have human beings stand on the farm and scream out loud so the birds go away because they are not scared of the scarecrows. The birds that come for the rice are very resilient and that is one aspect of our cost that is really high and, so, we have a team that we work with that developed these robots to scare off the birds”, she noted.
She emphasised that local rice is expensive “because we look at our cost and, especially, for scaring off birds, it is up there…and, so, all of these costs come into play and then all of these are factored in.”