Ghana has been spending an excess of 1 billion US Dollars on the importation of rice every year since 2015 and we at YARO see this trend to be a creation of a problem for an ailing economy like Ghana, when we can focus on retooling our local rice production sector.
A survey we conducted in partnership with the BUSAC Fund on why local rice is not gaining the recognition it deserves revealed that the problem is one of a lack of investment into the rice production sector in Ghana to add value.
Value addition is very important to processors due to profit margins and their desire in meeting the needs of consumers. However, adding value to a product requires both technical know-how and capital which many entrepreneurs do not have.
A greater number of rice producers see adding value to the produce to be important, but do not send it through the quality testing process, according to findings from our survey.
YARO has over 100 groups who are involved in the activities of parboil rice across northern Ghana.
These groups are being taken through series of activities involving best practice on how the rice production value chain could be enhanced for marketing influence.
This is because value addition to the production of rice raises its market value.
Over 95% of the membership of YARO’s Parboil Rice Groups is female, which suffice to say women dominate the activities of parboil rice production in the northern parts of Ghana.
YARO’s objective in all these activities with the parboil rice producers is to see that the interest of rice consumers in the local rice is raised, through quality assurances, thereby improving the economic standards of the rural people especially rice processors.
YARO has engaged in series of activities with the groups, including showing them how to ensure their rice goes through the process and comes out wholesome enough for consumers to purchase, with the hope of purchasing quality.
We call on all and sundry, especially lovers and consumers of rice, to support this course in their own small way, by purchasing the parboiled rice, especially from the north, because once rice is parboiled and parboiled well, it increases in quality and is wholesome enough for consumption by all classes of people.
We have done our part by raising the issue through advocacy, which is a core part of our operations.
We hope someone listens and acts as they should, because if all shoulders come to the wheel, we can begin solving the problem of rice importation into the country.
We call on governments to pay attention to investment in our local rice production and on parboil rice, to add both quality and market value to it, to contribute to raising Ghana’s economy.
Signed Douri Bennin Hajei