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23.11.2019 Feature Article

Can Market Forces Work For Ghana's Rice Farmers?

Can Market Forces Work For Ghana's Rice Farmers?

Citi FM's campaign to encourage Ghanaians to eat locally produced rice, has apparently led to the withdrawal of the advertising-spend-cash, which it hitherto received from rice importers in Ghana. How true is that, one wonders? Only Citi FM can confirm that story, alas.

If it is an actual recent development, however, then the consolation for Citi FM, is that what it has lost in ad revenues from rice importers, will be replaced ten-fold by a burnished reputation in Ghanaian society, as a patriotic corporate citizen - an intangible asset that is priceless. Cool.

The plain truth is that rice importers constitute a powerul force in our system, and have influential regime-insiders lobbying for them in the corridors of power - the protection of vested interests writ large, in other words.

However, for public health reasons, they must be taken on by the more responsible sections of the Ghanaian media. Citi FM's pioneering role must lead to greater media scrutiny of the entire value-chain of Ghana's rice importers - is it ethical and anchored on corporate good governance principles, for example? Do they pay all the taxes due the Ghanaian nation-state, and would forensic audits of their value-chains confirm that, one wonders?

Furthermore, there are stories in foreign media entities alleging that contaminated Asian rice is being dumped on markets across Africa. Those stories might be false. On the other hand, they might be true.

In light of those stories of the alleged dumping of contaminated Asian rice on markets across Africa, the question for consumers of imported rice in Ghana is: Why take what amounts to a Russian-roulette-type-risk eating imported rice, when Ghanaian rice is available; is much, much fresher, as well as a great deal more nutritious and quite safe to eat?

On their part, the smartest marketing strategy our local rice-farming industry can adopt, is simply to convert to certified, traceable organic rice farming, as soon as practicable. In an era when most Ghanaians now see healthy lifestyles as vital for their overall well-being, producing certified organic rice, is an unbeatable market niche to occupy. It is called making market forces work for you (according to my dear online brother-in-Christ John Kramer's honest-capitalism-commonsense-book-of-bootstrapping-empowerment!). Cool.

Kofi Thompson
Kofi Thompson, © 2019

The author has 474 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: KofiThompson

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