A survey conducted by the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at the Koforidua central market area indicated that out of over 20 rice sellers interviewed, only one person, by name Fati, popularly known as “Makola Woman” was selling the locally produced rice.
Among the large number of imported rice stock in her shop, Madam Fati had less than 25 kilograms of the locally made rice for sale.
She said, “That half sack you see there has been there for months; people do not buy the local rice. I think authorities do not advertise our local rice well enough.
“Should they vigorously advertise it as is done to some products like ‘this way chocolate drink’, local rice will capture prominence in the market”.
Most of the rice sellers explained that, they were not selling the local rice because the demand was low and very expensive.
One of the women, who sell her produce in small quantities, explained that, while a cup of the local rice is sold at 80Gp the same quantity of imported Pakistani rice goes for 50Gp.
Despite the improvement in the quality of local rice because of the introduction of modern processing equipments, some of the sellers still maintained that the quality of the local rice was poor as compared to the imported ones.
“If they want people to consume the local rice, then they should improve upon its quality as the foreign ones. We cannot go and buy rice which changes colour after a few weeks of storage,” one of the sellers noted.
Some of the sellers, however, expressed their desire to sell the local rice if they could get some source of supply because their suppliers, who formerly brought the products to them at their door steps, had stopped the supply.
“We do not know if the local rice is no longer being produced. We really need it but we cannot get. Some of us are not strong to travel far just to buy rice,” Adwoa, a seller, also observed.
When the GNA enquired from Mr Godwin Ocloo, the Eastern Regional Director of Food and Agriculture, why the local rice was not on the Koforidua market, he explained that, the sellers were supposed to go and buy the rice for sale since it was a private activity.
“It seems they do not have interest in it, that is why the product is scarce on the market,” he said.
In Eastern Region, rice is grown at Akuse in the lower Manya District, parts of Akuapem North District, East Akim District, Birim Central District and the Kwaebibirim District.