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Rice production Gov’t not showing enough commitment to rice farmers- GRIB

President Mahama on Tuesday at a press briefing to commemorate his third year in office said government's investment on rice had raised local rice production from 30 percent to 60 percent.

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The Ghana Rice Inter-Professional Body (GRIB) has bemoaned government’s lack of commitment to the rice sector, the Business and Financial Times (B&FT) reported on Friday.

The group’s Executive Secretary, Evans Sackey Teye, cited the 10% budget cut in the agric sector to buttress his point.

Government’s commitment is actually not there. For example, government says it wants to reduce imports of rice but still cut down the agricultural sector’s budget allocation in the 2016 budget,” Sackey Teye said.

Read more: Empower rice farmers to boost production- V/R Agric Director

“The budget also never stated the exact amount to aid the rice sector. In fact, there is nothing like that in the budget, but we keep on hearing that government is committed to the rice sector,” he added.

Government in the 2016 budget cut its 2016 expenditure on the agricultural sector by GHC40million despite growth in the agriculture sector falling to 0.04 percent this year, when government had targeted 3.6 percent growth.

Last year government's budgeted expenditure on the agricultural sector was GHC395.19million while it is pegged at GHC355.14 million in 2016, indicating a 10.1 percent decrease, according to the B&FT.

President Mahama on Tuesday at a press briefing to commemorate his third year in office said government's investment on rice had raised local rice production from 30 percent to 60 percent, and thereby, reducing the importation of the commodity which is a major staple in the country.

Related: Ghana to have a National Rice Development Strategy

He said about 10, 000 acres of land was irrigated for rice cultivation, indicating that the Asutuare rice farmlands were becoming small for the farmers on account of the growing demands to engage in the cultivation of the commodity.

President Mahama said under the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority, government would expand irrigation projects in the Nasia and Nabogu rice, soya beans and maize farms in the Northern Region.

Statistics show that Ghanaian rice consumption is estimated at 770,000 metric tonnes per year, with an estimated US$500million spent on imports yearly.

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