The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) said it is desirous to see government’s directive to the National Food Buffer Stock Company to mop up excess rice and also for all importers to buy local rice enforced.
It believes that any delay to carry out the directive will lead to bush fires burning the rice farms.
The National President of PFAG, Mohammed Abdul-Rahman, made this statement at the association’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) which ended at Fijai, a suburb of Takoradi, in the Western Region on Thursday.
He called for a complete ban on the importation of rice since rice farmers had demonstrated the capacity to produce enough of the commodity to meet local consumption and for export.
Mr Abdul-Rahman also suggested an increase in budget allocation to address problems of rice value chain and explore new technologies to address aflatoxin and other post- harvest challenges in rice production.
The national president of the PFAG again suggested that the government should bring storage facilities nearer to rice farming areas by first completing the One District, One Warehouse programme and commission the completed ones.
While applauding the government’s efforts in the implementation of the Planting for Food and Jobs, which had led to increase in food production incomes, he called on the government to pay equal attention to market access to create opportunities for farmers to sell their produce at competitive prices and not to be exploited by buyers and off-takers.
“Our company limited by liability, Akuafo Nketwa, formed in 2017 to ensure sustainability of PFAG, will be the conduit of the organisation’s marketing activities. It’s already working with members to supply sorghum to Guinness Ghana Breweries PLC,” The PFAG president added.
Mr Abdul-Rahman said in 2005, the PFAG founding members held its first AGM in Sunyani and established the governance structure and since then registered membership had grown from 28,000 to 1.2miilion.
He said the association continued to maintain a good relationship with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), the private sector and academia, parliament and developing partners.
Mr Abdul-Rahman added that the association’s advocacy activities had consistently led to policy reviews that had contributed immensely to agricultural development in the country, including the PFJ, access to extension activities for women, access to credit, mechanisation, access to quality inputs and investments in small holder farming.
He told the AGM that the PFAG had promoted the production and consumption of local rice.
In his keynote address, the Western Regional Minister, Mr Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, urged PFAG to work effectively towards improving small households’ nutrition of children and women in deprived areas, build a comprehensive value chain approach to agriculture and focus on market- oriented extension services to farmers.
“Assist in building capacities of farmers by training them on demand-driven skills, knowledge sharing and enhancing farmer business and financial management skills, create jobs by enticing the youth and teeming unemployed graduates,” Mr Darko-Mensah suggested.
FROM CLEMENT ADZEI BOYE, FIJAI