Farmers in Upper East decry low market for paddy rice

Farmers in the Upper East Region have decried the poor marketing of paddy rice after this year’s harvest and the challenges farmers are facing to mop up old stocks of the produce in the area.

Mr Isaac Pabia, the Regional Focal Person of the Peasant Farmers Association, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, described the issue as serious, which was affecting farmers’ incomes, considering the high cost of production and input.

He said fertilizer was purchased between GH¢450 and GH¢470 for the cropping season and the crops, including maize, sorghum and rice did so well but the major problem was marketing of the rice.

Though some farmers were able to link up to other local buyers, they were not buying as pledged.

“If the Government has a policy to stop importation of rice, why do we leave all these difficulties of selling the produce in the hands of the farmers to struggle with after toiling so much to produce,” he queried.

“No concrete policy is being carved to solve the problem of farmers,” he said, and reiterated the need for installation of more mills in the region to help possess the paddy rice.

Mr Pabia said though there were some private initiatives to ensure the sale of the rice, there was no support from government to assist those initiatives to scale up.

“The Buffer Stock Company, in line with its mandate to accelerate modernisation of agriculture and increase productivity of Ghanaian farmers, set up the company to mop up the excesses after production and when farmers are in the lean season help to stabilise prices of food produce,” he said.

Since the beginning of the lean season the buffer stock had not purchased any produce from farmers, leaving them helpless.

He encouraged Ghanaians to consume locally produced foods to help farmers produce more to increase profit and ensure food security.

“If we really want to encourage agriculture then we should, as a country, support this move with promotion of markets and key areas of input access,” Mr Pabia said.

He commended the farmers for the good job done despite the challenges and noted the food availability in the region, however money to purchase was a difficulty.

Source: GNA

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