The Chief Executive Officer of the company, Hanan Abdul-Wahab told Accra-based Citi FM that this is to promote the consumption of locally produced rice in the country.
This is coming after President Akufo-Addo announced that he has asked all government institutions to use local rice for all events and initiatives from next year. He announced this at the meet the press encounter last Friday.
According to Hanan Abdul-Wahab, they have started the initiative in schools in the Ashanti Region and five regions in the northern part of the country. He added that the schools in the other are currently receiving 50% supply but will be scaled up by the next academic year.
“When we started the policy in 2017, we started with Ghana rice, but there was some resistance from the students because they were not used to it. But we took it upon ourselves to educate them on how nutritious Ghana rice is. We are in 2019, so the numbers for supply has increased. In the Ashanti Region, we are doing 100 percent of Ghana rice as well as in the five Northern Regions. In the rest of the regions, we are doing 50 percent. So, we are hoping that in the 2020/2021 academic year, we are going to cover every school with 100 percent of Ghana rice.”
Ghanaians in recent times are being encouraged to consume more locally produced rice to help boost the sector. Currently, local rice production stands at 460,000 metric tonnes with 640,000 metric tonnes imported annually.
The Fumbisi Rice Valleys for example, has the capacity to produce 4,500 metric tonnes but is currently producing just 1,000. The Agric Ministry had assured that the capacity will be expanded.
The National Food Buffer Stock is also to intensify the issuance of license and purchasing of both paddy and milled rice from local producers.
Meanwhile, 10 major rice millers have agreed to buy locally grown rice for processing at 60% capacity which translates to 300,000 metric tonnes annually. This will produce over 23 million bags of home-grown rice.
The government has also communicated plans to ban the importation of rice by 2022.