This certification which is an initiative aimed to promoting the consumption of Ghana Rice among rice consumers in the country is being developed in collaboration with Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) and Brands Ghana which is driving the campaign for consumption of made in Ghana products.
Mr. Imoro Amoro -- GRIB President speaking to B&FT after the media launch of the 3rd Rice Festival in Accra explained that the certification will only be awarded to processors and marketers of Ghana rice brands after going through the required GSA and FDA training and successfully passing all product test which meets both the paddy standards and milled rice standards.
He explained that GRIB in collaboration with Ghana Grains Council, GIZ-CARI and USAID-ADVANCE has successfully developed rice paddy standards and reviewed the milled rice standards for training and use by the rice value chain which has led to the quality rice brands currently selling on the market.
He explained that GRIB has charged farmers to produce good quality paddy-rice in line with efforts to promote locally produced rice.
He bemoaned missed opportunities in the rice sector due to inaccurate consumer perceptions about local rice, adding that farmers can do more to dismiss such thoughts from the minds of consumers.
“We should disabuse our minds from the perception that the rice produced in Ghana is of inferior quality. The most important thing that farmers can do is produce quality paddy-rice. We are producing for the market, and because of globalisation we can never close our eyes to the impact of the external world on our market. So, to be able to compete with others in the market and eliminate the idea local rice is inferior, we need to produce good quality rice that meets the expectation of consumers,” he said.
He further stated that his outfit is engaged in training farmers on how to use modern tools and methods of production to boost output in the sector.
“We are training the farmers with a system known as rice intensification -- a system based on transplanting instead of the traditional broadcasting method, whereby one seed can grow so much rice and the paddy also comes out clean and of very high quality. So this is what we are doing to improve the quality of the local rice,” Mr. Amoro said.
Harold Ntorinkansah – Chairman Ghana Rice Advocay Council, said access to funds must be eased for farmers to enable them tap the full potential that exists in the rice sector.
He explained that the industry continues to face limited access to mechanization equipment and service to rice farmers and processors, limited access to concessionary financing by rice value chain actors, limited access to quality rice seeds to rice farmers as well as limited commitment by government to use its purchasing power to boost demand for local rice procurement by public institutions, government events to promote the consumption of local rice.
Statistics show that rice consumption in the country is estimated at 770,000 metric tonnes per year, with an estimated US$500million spent on imports yearly. Anecdotal evidence suggests Ghanaian urban consumers are willing to pay 113 percent premium for imported rice.
The project will support lowland rice production in the Northern, Upper East, Upper West Regions and northern parts of the Volta Region of Ghana.
Mr. Imoro explained that the RSSP is in line with MOFA’s strategy to facilitate the production of food crops to attain food self-sufficiency, output processing and marketing systems adding that rice has been expressly identified in the Food and Agricultural Sector Development Policy (FASDEP) as an important food crop that should be given special attention for food self-sufficiency.