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General News of Monday, 22 March 2010

Source: GNA

Let's create a brand for the local rice - GAWU

Accra, March 22, GNA - The General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU)= of GTUC is leading a campaign that aims at branding the locally produced ric= e. Mr. Raymond Ategbi, Coordinating Officer at GAWU has, therefore, cal= led on all Civil Society Organisations to join GAWU to wage an unrelenting campaign to influence the government's policy in the rice industry. At an informal meeting with Agricultural Students in selected tertia= ry institutions to discuss difficulties faced in the agricultural sector, in=

Accra, Mr. Ategbi said major decision makers in government ministries, agencies and departments must work together towards a coherent policy to reduce rice importation in the country while boosting and improving local=


"An aggressive advertising campaign to encourage the consumption of local rice is needed," he said and asked producers, farmers and millers t= o be supported to produce quality and sufficient rice in Ghana. Mr. Ategbi blamed the low rice production rate on the liberalisation= of trade and withdrawal of subsidies on agricultural inputs. "This has resulted in the importation of cheap and highly subsidised=

rice on the domestic market; this is crippling the rice industry in Ghana=

and the livelihood of farmers as a whole," he said. Mr. Ategbi said rice farmers presently contributed only about 35 per=

cent of the nation's rice consumption but GAWU was optimistic that rice farmers could satisfy the required rice consumption of the country if the=

right policies were implemented to protect the industry.