The Head of Programs and Advocacy for the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) has called on government to direct banks to ensure full compliance in their provision of credit facilities for rice farmers.
According to Charles Nyaaba, government must urgently also furnish them with rice inputs like seeds and fertilizers to aid them in their produce towards averting a possible shortage of rice due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“It will be useful if government could get us inputs like fertilizer or seeds to produce and payback. Even if they can connect us with the banks to access credit at a reasonable interest, that will also help us greatly. We’re pleading with government to direct the banks to ensure full compliance from them too,” Mr Nyaaba told GhanaWeb in an interview.
Meanwhile, coronavirus lockdowns in countries that Ghana imports rice from, coupled with disruptions in the global supply chains, could pose some vulnerability to food insecurity in Ghana.
Already, Ghana imports about US$1 billion worth of rice annually to meet a monthly rice demand of 940,000 tonnes.
Earlier this year, some producers of rice from the Northern Region were affected by wild fires fueled by the Harmattan winds which destroyed over 300 hectares of rice fields in the region.
Following the disaster, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture made assurances of a compensation to the farmers who lost their farms and produce for the year.
However, some farmers claimed they have since been neglected after engagements with the Ministry. They were concerned about how other farmers took advantage to exploit buyers by demanding that extra big bags of their choice be used to measure their produce.