Mildred Siabi-Mensah, GNA
Fijai, Dec. 2, GNA - The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) has called on government to adopt proactive measures to secure the Ghana rice industry and ensure a complete ban on the importation of rice to boost sales.
It said there was enough Ghanaian rice to meet the demands of the country and called on all government institutions to patronise it.
While commending the Government for the move to secure the Ghanaian rice industry, the Association recommended low interest on loans for agricultural businesses to curtail the challenges confronting the sector.
Other recommendations included increased budget allocation and subsidies for combined harvesters, rice millers and packaging materials, new technology to address aflatoxins and other post-harvest challenge, storages facilities and increased budget on mitigating problems in the rice value chain.
Mr Abdul Rahman Mohammed, the Board Chairman of the PFAG, during the 2019 Annual General Meeting of the Association, said the directive by the Government to the National Buffer Stock Company to mop-up the excess rice and importers to buy local rice had come in handy.
"We hope the directive will be enforced immediately without any further delay to bring hope to our farmers," he added.
Meanwhile, a Research on; "Assessment of the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) Programme: Perspectives from beneficiary farmers,” revealed that farmers had received improved certified variety of seeds.
Professor Awetori Yaro from the University of Ghana, who presented the Findings, said the research was commissioned to analyse access to certified seeds, fertilizer, extension services, marketing and post-harvest handling.
It established that much progress had been made with the PFJ and that the project could stimulate the commercialisation of small scale agriculture in Ghana.
The study, however, recommended increased surveillance, extension services, and early delivery of seeds and fertilizers.
Other recommendations included a deliberate government policy to direct banks to lower their interest rates on agricultural businesses.
Mr Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, the Western Regional Minister, urged farmers to work effectively towards improving household nutrition of women and children.
He called for the development of a comprehensive value-chain approach to agriculture and focus on market oriented extension services to build the capacity of farmers through training.