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What’s the point increasing production when there’s no market – Rice farmers in Upper East Region

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The Bolgatanga, Bawku, and Navrongo (BBN) Cooperative in the Upper East Region has called on the government of Ghana to regulate the importation of rice into the country. The cooperative is wondering why the government would make a huge investment in boosting local crop production through programs like the Planting for Food and Jobs Programme (PFJ) and still allow the importation of large quantities of the same agricultural products.

The BBN Cooperative was formed under a 5-year PROCED (Development Program for Inclusive and Sustainable Model Cooperatives) project, which is implemented by SOCODEVI, an international NGO that supports vulnerable women and men in the fields of agriculture, environment, and gender empowerment, with funding from Global Affairs Canada.

Raphael Asuure, the Team Lead for the NGOs PROCEED project, speaking on A1 Radio’s Day Break Upper East Show, explained that the government’s actions in this area are counterproductive.

“Production has increased. But what’s the point in increasing production and the market does not consume this. Then we are back to the same place we began. The only way to be able to go around this is for the government and we as citizens to be conscious enough to consume the local products that we have put the women and men farmers to engage in.”

In a related development, Gilberta Akuka, President of the BBN Cooperative said the locally produced rice by the BBN Cooperative is of quality and nutritional value, just like any polished rice. She said the project has impacted positively on their lives and their families.

“When we started, the women were not able to get money to buy the paddy but because we have parboiled many times, we get profits from the paddy that the BBN Cooperative buys. So, it has helped us to buy more paddy and pay our children’s school fees. And because of that, our husbands support us because they now understand that we are doing business to support the home”, Madam Akuka indicated.

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

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