Local rice farmers at Fumbisi and Gbedembilisi in the Upper East Region have welcomed moves by the Ghana National Buffer Stock Company to assist them with a ready market for their produce.
After a Citi News report on how the lack of ready market for the commodity was threatening their investments, the Chief Executive Officer of the Buffer Stock Company, Hanan Abdul-Wahab, who visited the Fumbisi Rice Valleys assured farmers of ready market in two weeks.
But the farmers say they will treat such assurances as mere talk until they materialize.
“Next year by this time, we shouldn’t be talking about this again. We know the government can do it and the President is able.”
“We will be very happy when the assurances are put into practice. I will be permanently happy when they come round and assist us in carting the produce away from the farms.”
The Ghana National Buffer Stock Company has promised to unleash its licensed buying companies to mop-up all rice produce going bad over lack of buyers.
Buffer Stock CEO, Abdul-Wahab, who gave the assurance said it forms part of government’s long-term plans to increase rice consumption in the country as a means to ending importation of rice thus creating a ready market for rice farmers.
“We are going to unleash our licensed buying companies to immediately come to this rice valleys and mop-up the excess paddy rice grains here, so that they can take them to nearby mills, mill them and supply to a government institution. We have over 1,350 registered licensed buying companies under the Buffer Stock Company, but we term this situation as an emergency one, so we would have to carefully select those who are ready with resources to come immediately to buy, and we hope to mop-up all these rice out of the valleys within two weeks”, he said.
Project Coordinator of THE Savanna Zone Agricultural Productivity Improvement Project, Felix Darimani, also hinted that plans were in place to support rice farmers with farm equipment to boost rice production in the area.
But the farmers insist that these are mere promises until they have the buyers to purchase their rice which is getting rotten on the farms.
“It is good news, but until they do what they have said. Unless it is done, we will not be able to say much.”
“As they have assured us that in two weeks time, they will bring people to buy our produce, we are very happy.”
Plans are also far advanced to sign Memorandum of Understanding with government institutions such as the Ghana Police Service, the Prisons Service, government hospitals, and community development schools to supply them with Ghana rice.
The Chief Executive Officer of Citi FM and Citi TV, Samuel Attah-Mensah, who declared himself as an ambassador to push for the consumption of locally produced rice in Ghana, triggered a conversation on the subject as well as the response from government.
He subsequently initiated the Buy Made in Ghana rice campaign which as so far been accepted nationwide.