The President of Ghana Rice Inter-Professional Body (GRIB), Imoro Amoro has called for more attention to strengthening the commodities value chain in the agricultural sector.
Speaking to Goldstreet business on the specific topic of rice production, Amoro said “the development of value-chain for our commodities and services is not a panacea, it is the major part of the panacea to our economic development.”
This would create jobs, wealth and the food security that the economy needs.
“We should just develop the value chains and support them to become sustainable institutions” he explained.
Rice has become a strategic crop from availability and price standpoints, with the increasing urban consumers relying on rice for calorie intake.
According to industry players, due to the unavailability of combine harvesters to farmers for harvesting of rice, produce are being left on some fields.
Post-harvest equipment in the rice value chain continues to be a major challenge which needs immediate attention.
Amoro asked that government comes up with concessionary financing for the sector and also strengthen the commodity value chain by taking or adopting the flagging value chain that already exist.
“So far rice is flagging but one of the strongest value chains we have developed in the country. If we are able to develop it for maize, groundnut, beans; unemployment would varnish off the streets,” he noted.
Statistics show that the Ghanaian rice market is increasingly driven by premium rice, which is growing at about 40 percent per annum. Whereas urban market consumers prefer imported rice due to perception of higher quality and appearance.
Consumers are also willing to pay a price premium of about 113 percent for imported rice over premium local rice.
Amoro said “we are losing a whole lot of things because we are not exploring the full benefits of the entire value chain, even in rice. We burn straw, whereas this can even be someone’s business to bale it and keep it for cattle feed.”
“There are whole lots of things we can do; but if we don’t develop the private value chains as institutions, I don’t see where we are going.”
He stressed on need to strengthen the value chain for all commodities and the services that relate to them.
By Joshua W. Amlanu