Deputy Minister for Agriculture Kennedy Osei Nyarko says it is not the responsibility of government to promote local rice.
According the him, that responsibility lies in the hands of the local processing companies.
He also charged processing companies to endeavour to make their brands visible on the market as well as promote the health benefits of locally processed rice as against the imported ones.
According to the deputy minister, rice is the highest commodity on Ghana’s import bill noting about 2.2 billion dollars is spent each year to import food and out of that amount 1.35 billion dollars goes to rice.
The consumption of local rice has become topical in recent times after Citi MD Sammens moved the campaign on social media.
“When we came into government we decided to do so many things in the production aspect to drive production to get more people to go into rice production. We started giving support in terms of making available high yielding rice seeds.
“The first to start with is making the public know which ones are the Ghanaian local brands. And when you are advertising, you need to emphasize on the benefit that the consumer will derive from whatever product you are selling. Here is the case that there is enough evidence that our local rice contains little starch than the ones that are imported into this country. And you know what starch does in the body. And so if you have a local rice that the starch content is very low as compared to the one that we import into this country, it tells you that on the health aspect, there are a lot of health and nutritional value that one can get from it,” he told Francis Abban on the Morning Starr Monday.
He added: “If you don’t give details then it means you are not helping the consumer. So the consumer goes to the market, he is faced with what he can see around. The marketing and the promotion aspect of Ghana rice is not the responsibility of the government to go and start running radio or TV adverts promoting this kind of rice for the producers. It is their own responsibility. Government can only come in and create awareness”.