Press Release by Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana on the 35th Farmers Day Celebration
Date: 4th December, 2019
Speaking to Citi Business News ahead of Friday’s Farmers’ Day Celebration, the Head of Programmes and Advocacy of the Peasant Farmers Association, Charles Nyaaba, said even though the Association would have preferred an immediate ban on rice imports, it wants to see practical steps being taken to implement the 2022 ban.
It is worrying and would be ridiculous to members of PFAG who represent
Ghanaian farmers have proven their ability to produce enough rice to meet domestic consumption. This is manifested by the drastic increase in rice production in 2019 of which greater quantities still remain unharvested due to lack of harvesting equipment and guaranteed market. Unfortunately, only 34 per cent of Ghanaians consume Ghana rice while 680, 000 tonnes of rice costing $500 million is imported annually.
The PFAG believes that the high appetite for imported rice has significantly contributed to rice millers lacking market for Ghana rice leading to the current rice glut in Northern Ghana. This phenomenon if not addressed with the urgency it deserves, could worsen the poverty situation of smallholder farmers and majority of rural people who still rank as the poorest in the country and thereby negatively impacting on the successes the nation chalked in recent times on the campaign against poverty and food insecurity.
PFAG RECOMMENDATIONS TO GOVERNMENT
- While PFAG fully supports the pronouncement by government to ban importation of rice by 2022 and other food crops that can be produced in Ghana, PFAG calls for show of commitment of the pronouncement by stringent concrete steps to be put in place as PFAG would rather wish for an immediate ban and not wait until 2022. Adopting Nigeria’s food importation ban concept will not only help to reduce Ghana’s import bill but create employment opportunities in Ghana and stabilize the cedi would as well as put smiles on the faces of smallholder rice farmers. Concrete measures need therefore, to be put in place to commence ban on imports such as reduction in 2020 rice imports.
- Institutional purchase of local rice by all government institutions such as the school feeding programme, free SHS, the military and para institutions.
- Government should mandate all banks to increase their loan portfolio with low interest rate on agriculture. There should be flexible procedures for smallholder farmers to be able to access these loans.
- Increase budget allocation and subsidies for combine harvesters, rice mills and rice packaging materials.
- Explore new technologies to address aflatoxin and other post-harvest challenges in rice production.
- Bring storage facilities closer to rice farming areas by first completing the One District One Warehouse programme, commission the completed ones and set up temporary cocoons in the communities.
- Ensure timely release and distribution of good quality fertilizer and seeds to rice farmers as well as ensuring that, stringent measures are taken to curb smuggling of same.
Finally, PFAG thanks His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for his commitment to developing Ghana through agricultural modernization by introducing the “Planting for Food and Jobs” which supports farmers with fertilizer and seeds and reduce the burden on access to inputs. PFAG is highly optimistic that the above concerns raised would be given the urgent attention they deserve.
Long live Ghana, long live the peasant farmer who continues to toil to put food on the table of Ghanaians.
The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG), is an apex membership base and Non-partisan organization in Ghana with the mandate to advocate for pro poor agriculture and trade policies that affect the livelihoods of small holder farmers.
Signed by: Mr. Abdul- Rahman Mohammed (National President and Board Chairman of PFAG)
CC: The Minister, MoFA
The Crops Director, MoFA