The Youth Advocacy on Rights and Opportunities (YARO), a non-governmental organization, which made the call, said this would also help to increase consumption of locally produced rice, which was necessary to reduce the country’s import bill on the produce.
This was contained in a statement issued by YARO and signed by its Executive Director, Mr Douri Bennin Hajei, and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Tamale on Wednesday.
The statement said “A recent survey conducted by YARO in partnership with the BUSAC Fund on why local rice is not gaining the recognition it deserved, revealed that the problem was the lack of investment into the rice production sector and adding value to it”.
It said the study among 100 groups involved in the activities of parboiled rice across the northern part of the country, found that “a greater number of rice producers see adding value to the produce to be important, however, they do not send it through quality testing process”.
It said, therefore, “these groups are being taken through series of activities involving best practice on how the rice production value chain could be enhanced for marketing influence,” because value addition to the production of rice raised its marketing potential.
It said the activities included “Showing the groups on how to ensure their rice goes through the process and comes out wholesome enough for consumers to purchase”.
The statement said about 95 per cent of the membership of YARO’s parboiled rice groups comprised females, adding that YARO’s objective in all those activities with the parboiled rice producers was to increase consumption of locally produced rice through quality assurance, thereby improving on the livelihoods of rural people, especially rice processors.
It called on rice consumers to support the local rice industry by purchasing the parboiled rice, because “Once rice is parboiled and parboiled well, it increases in quality and becomes wholesome enough for consumption”.