The Peasant Farmers Association and the Rice Farmers Association have petitioned Parliament over the state of the local rice industry.
According to the Executive Director of Peasant Farmers Association, Dr. Charles Nyaaba, the reduction in benchmark values on imported goods is serving as an indirect subsidy for imported rice, which is crippling their business.
“We have realized that giving discounts to importers is making it difficult for the local rice farmer to sell rice. The cost of rice production has increased more than 200 percent. The second issue has to do with fertilizer. Yesterday, we saw a circular that a fertilizer subsidy was going for GH¢150 instead of GH¢53.”
Speaking to Citi News after presenting the petition, Dr. Nyaaba called for the immediate reversal of the benchmark values without further delay.
“For us, the farmers, we came here with two main petitions. One has to do with our inability to sell the rice. As we speak, there is a lot of paddy rice packed at the warehouses. Currently, I have over a thousand bags of paddy rice I cannot sell. We approach the rice millers, and they say they cannot buy the rice. The reason is simple, the government has given a hidden subsidy to the rice importers, so they are able to sell their rice at a lower cost compared to the local rice.”
The government was, earlier in January 2022, expected to reverse discounts it introduced on some selected imported products some years back to cushion importers in the country.
It subsequently suspended the reversal of the policy indefinitely following mixed reactions that greeted the announcement of the reversal.
While importers were elated over the suspension of the policy, the manufacturing sector and some farmer-based groups were not happy with it.