Audio Attachment:Listen to Food and Agriculture Minister, Kwesi Ahwoi, speaking on the need to consume more locally produced rice and his pledge to quit as Minister if he fails to revive the local rice industry.
Minister of Food and Agriculture, Kwesi Ahwoi, says he will cease to be the minister responsible for that sector if he fails to deliver on his set goals and targets in the next two years.
Mr. Ahwoi believes “the time has come for the government and all stakeholders in the Agricultural sector, to assist farmers in curtailing food importation into the country,” since the nation spends nearly $500m to import rice annually.
According to the Minister, farmers will be given the necessary equipment and technical know-how to boost the production of local rice by the end of October.
“I have been given the needed clout to "fight" anyone who intends sabotaging Agriculture evolution including anyone from my government, by the President himself…I will bag made in Ghana rice, with Imported from Thailand embossed on them for Ghanaians to procure, if that is what they want,” he vowed.
A bill that will require that only locally produced rice is bought for state institutions is being prepared for the Cabinet by the Ministry of Agriculture.
The bill seeks to make the President, ministers of state, other government officials and public institutions to patronize locally produced rice as a way of reviving the local rice industry.
It would also enable the Government to cut down on the importation of polished rice and provide a lifeline for the local rice sector to expand and meet local demand.
Expatiating further on the issue with Kwami Sefa Kayi on “Kokrokoo”, Mr. Ahwoi said, Ghanaians yearn for quality products so there is the need for people in the rice industry to add value to what they produce to meet the growing taste of consumers. He explained that this will revitalize the consumption of locally manufactured rice which has declined significantly.
“If quality improves, government will reduce rice importation”, he assured.
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