GNA – The National Buffer Stock Company (NAFCO) has asked suppliers under the Free Senior High School programme to supply Ghana rice to schools starting next year or face sanctions.
It gave a signal that licensed suppliers’ failure to do so would attract sanctions, which include non-payment for services rendered and revocation of licenses.
Mr Hanan Abdul-Wahab, the Chief Executive Officer of NAFCO, gave the caution when he addressed a press conference in Accra on Monday on the status of Ghana rice patronage and consumption and paddy rice purchases.
He said the directive forms part of efforts to encourage locally produced rice patronage and consumption and ensure that there was 100 per cent supply of its supply to all schools, especially those under the Free SHS.
Mr Abdul-Wahab said already second cycle schools in the Ashanti and the five regions of the north are covered, adding that it hoped to cover the remaining 10 regions soon.
“As a collaborative gesture, we continue to refer our licensed suppliers to local rice millers and marketers including Avnash Industries Ghana Limited for the sales and patronage of Ghana rice.”
“We have also issued two licenses to Avnash Industries Ghana Limited for the purchase and supply of Ghana rice to our schools under the Free SHS Programme and also to our Warehouses under our ECOWAS Stocks Mutualisation Programme,” he said.
He explained that it had, through its Post-Harvest Committee, increased a kilogramme of paddy rice by 0.19 per cent from the current amount of GH¢1.11 to GH¢1.30.
“This, therefore, means that a 180kg of paddy rice currently selling at GH¢200.00 will now be sold for GH¢234.00,” Mr Abdul-Wahab said.
He said NAFCO was also in negotiations with a mobile van company to ensure produced rice reached the final consumer.
Mr Emmanuel Asante Krobea, the Chairman of the Rice Marketing Technical Committee, Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), said the Ministry hoped to achieve self-sufficiency in rice by 2022.
He said currently the distribution of Ghana rice was being looked at critically in order to ensure consumers had easy access to it.
Mr Krobea explained that the Committee was putting in place measures to ensure that importers of rice purchased the locally produced ones and distributed them through their existing channels.
He said currently the Ministry was also in discussions with five financial institutions and had signed tripartite agreements with them to provide financial support for rice millers to boost production and facilitate national development.
Responding to the demands of farmers in the Builsa South District of the Upper East Region for a market and storage facilitates, Mr Daniel Gariba, the District Chief Executive, expressed satisfaction over measures taken by the MoFA to address the challenge.
“I am happy to report that farmers are happy because Avnash Industries have come in to take the excess paddy rice that was stored by them and as at yesterday. I can confidently confirm that Avnash have started buying rice from our farmers and this is largely due to the intervention by the Minister of Agriculture and the CEO of NAFCO,” he stated.
He said with the construction of two factories by the Ministry of Trade and Industry and MoFA in the District, he was optimistic that the challenge would be resolved.