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28.05.2005 General News

'Quality Grain' is back!

By Times

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture is in the process of valuing the land, the mill and the other machinery and equipment of the Aveyime Rice Farm in the Volta Region.

The exercise is being carried out to know the value of the property to guide government in negotiations with investors, the sector minister, Mr Ernest Debrah, told Parliament last Friday.

He was answering a question from Mr Joe Kwashie Gidisu, NDC Central Tongu, on what had become of the Quality Grain project since its repackaging in 2001.

The minister said that given the level of technology involved in the project, an advertisement had been placed in the World Bank Development Business Journal, inviting interested international valuers to submit proposals. Another invitation has gone to the professional bodies locally to have interested members submit proposals for consideration.

The valuation, he said, would form the basis for further negotiations with investors.

After the valuation, “the ministry would invite interested investors through an open tender system, to ensure that Ghana has the best in terms of proposals that would help promote and develop the local rice industry”, he added.

Mr Debrah said that for the meantime, to improve local production of rice, the ministry had been collaborating with rice brokers to buy paddy from local sources for milling, using the facilities at the project for a fee. The monies generated have been used to pay salaries and to maintain the machinery.

He told the House that this came about because in the course of time, local and foreign companies expressed interest to use the mill of the project to mill imported paddy.

“The ministry consequently decided that some guidelines be developed on the best option for the implementation of the rice project at Aveyime,” Mr Debrah said.

He gave the assurance that the ministry in its negotiations with potential investors would make sure that local rice production was not sacrificed for paddy imports.

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