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Fumbisi rice farmers commend government for commitment to boost local production

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“I actually listened to the budget reading. I have a copy of it as well and I am excited about what it says. Now the government wants to look at how best to cut down importation of rice and has put up a budget to really boost local production.” 

Daniel Atulik, the Secretary of Commercial Rice Farmers in the Upper East Region said this of the 2023 Budget Statement and Financial Policy when he spoke on A1 Radio’s Day Break Upper East Show. 

It would be recalled that in the 2023 Budget Statement and Financial Policy, the government stated, “to boost local productive capacity, we will among others: cut the imports of public sector institutions that rely on imports either for inputs or consumption by 50% and will work with the Ghana Audit Service and the Internal Audit Agency to ensure compliance; support the aggressive production of strategic substitutes, including the list disclosed at the President’s last address to the nation; Support large-scale agriculture and agribusinesses interventions through the Development Bank Ghana and ADB Bank; introduce policies for the protection and incubation newly formed domestic industries to allow them to make the goods produced here competitive for local consumption and also for exports. To promote exports, we will among others: expand our productive capacity in the real sector of the economy and actively encourage the consumption of locally produced rice, poultry, vegetable oil and fruit juices, ceramic tiles among others.”

While the government’s commitment is commendable, Mr. Atulik is expecting the government to focus on 3 major areas to help boost local production of rice. 

“The problems cut across from the farmers to the millers to the consumers. For we farmers, there are a number of things we would expect the government to do. The first thing is to have a rethink about the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme with regard to supporting farmers with inputs; especially the fertiliser. If you look at the whole country, rice yields dropped more than 70 percent. Apart from yield dropping, there has been a cut in production if you look at the large acreages that people used to do, especially in Builsa South. Government should look at highly subsidising fertiliser. I wouldn’t say they should give it to us for free, but they should subsidise it so that lots of commercial farmers can afford it and that would really help. It also looks like urea, which helps boost yields is really not in the system.”

“Aside that, we would also ask the government to consider harvesting. If they can help procure, or have an arrangement in terms of payments [for harvesters], that would really help us. If we harvest it while it is dry, milling is a problem and the millers are complaining. Helping us to harvest while it is wet would really help us a lot.”

“Apart from that, we would expect more warehouses,” he said. 

Source: A1radioonline.com|101.1MHz|Mark Kwasi Ahumah Smith|Ghana

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