Accra, April 23, GNA - The French Ambassador to Ghana Mr. Pierre Jecquemot on Friday called on the government to support the local rice production industries through injection of financial capital and creation of enabling environment for the growth of the industry. He said Ghana has a tremendous potential for increased rice production to feed and meet the national requirement and also reduce the large import of rice, adding that the only thing lacking is vigorous governmental support.
Delivering a speech at the inauguration of the Ghana Rice Inter Professional Body (GRIB) in Accra, Mr Jecquemot said the government has the capabilities to increase investment in the local rice sector through the provision of the appropriate funding mechanism. He reminded government of the strategic importance of the rice industry to the country in terms of food security and its economic values - import and export and stressed the need for governmental support.
The French Ambassador said the French Government have developed a new rice project to be funded by the Agence Francaise de Development and the European Union to strengthen the industry in Ghana. Mr Jecquemot said the Embassy in Accra has voted 300,000 Euros to support the operations of GRIB to ensure that its aims and objectives are achieved for the transformation of the industry in Ghana. Mr Ralph Mends-Odro GRIB President said the aim of the Board is to bring together farmers organisation, processors and brokers, researchers, policy makers and financial institutions to identify, discuss and develop programmes and strategies to address common problems.
To collect, analyse and disseminate on timely base, all kinds of information relating to the rice sector, promote and regulate the rice sector through voluntary negotiations and execution of agreements among stakeholders and monitoring groups.
He said GRIB would also provide a forum for policy development and implementation in the rice sector, act as an advocacy group, and direct and streamline investment for the development of the sector. Mr Mends-Odro has initiated programmes to improve the processing; marketing, packaging and upgrading of small-scale rice mills, introduction of the modern agricultural technology and provision of credit facilities for farmers.
He called for the Development of Rice Development Funds, which would be used to support the development of paddy fields in the inland and lowland valleys for expansion.
The inauguration was chaired by Major (Rtd) Courage Quashiga, Minister of Health and attended by stakeholders in the rice industry, Ministers of State and a cross-section of the public.