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Opinions of Friday, 18 December 2009

Columnist: Abokoma, Dorcas

Let Us Welcome Locally Produced Rice In Our Homes

Hundreds of thousands of people consume rice in the country. Statistics of the 2010 budget statement has shown that the total consumption of rice in the country is about five hundred thousand [500,000] tons of which three hundred and fifty thousand [350,000] tons are imported. It is about time we patronized our locally produced goods. There are many manufactured goods in Ghana and I believe if we patronize our locally produced goods, our country will be more advanced in some few years to come.

It surprised me when the statistics showed, that the consumption of local rice is very low which is about fifteen thousand [15,000] tons of rice. I believe, it is because Ghanaians have not taken into consideration how delicious our local rice is. The local rice of no doubt is so delicious than the so called imported rice. No wonder rice sellers put the local rice in the imported rice sacks and sell it out at the imported rice price.

Talking of patronizing the local rice, it will go a long way to creating employment in the country. In relation to the statistics in the 2010 budget statement, our local rice farmers can produce the three hundred and fifty tons which are being imported when well patronized. Thus if our local rice is consumed than the foreign ones, more farmers would be needed in the production and also much people will be employed in the manufacturing industry. As the unemployment level is high in this country, I therefore believe this initiative will reduce the unemployment level in our motherland Ghana.

Monies put into importation of foreign rice can be redirected to other developmental projects such as schools, hospitals, clinics, roads and portable water to deprived communities.

I therefore suggest that government should direct local rice to boarding schools. Policies should be formulated so that all boarding schools should use our local rice in their schools. If this is done, students will see the deliciousness in the rice and educate their parents on local rice which may totally eradicate the importation of rice into the country. Farming equipment, good seedlings, fertilizers should be provided to the farmers. Commercial banks should welcome the idea of reducing the interest rate for farmers.

It is a sad reflection to see a country like Ghana, importing rice into the country whiles we produce rice in the country. Right from the word go, let us love made in Ghana goods.

DORCAS ABOKOMA WILSON.

GHANA INSTITUTE OF JOURNALISM