Mr Nabil Moukarzel, Executive Chairman of Finatrade Group of Companies, has appealed to government to create a tariff offset for companies or group of companies engaged in supporting local rice production.
He has equally asked for the imposition of punitive actions against non- compliant importers and other importers that do not contribute to local rice production, in order to create a level playing.
Mr Moukarzel made the appeal during the inauguration of an ultra modern GADCO/Finatrade rice processing unit at Sogakope in the Volta Region.
The rice farms covering 2000 acres of land feeding the processing unit can deliver a minimum of 10,000 tons of rice into the Ghanaian market.
The companies are targeting 5000 acres of farmlands and 50,000 farmers in the next few years of its operations.
The Executive Chairman said Finatrade is committed to support government to domesticate rice production, but called for fair tariff regimes that could encourage the private sector to invest heavily in line with government's expanded agricultural programme.
This, Mr Moukarzel said hinges on an effective partnership between government and the private sector in the areas of training, price support, agronomy and technology to leverage best practices.
He said matching fund could also be used, allowing importers to co-invest in programmes to support local production alongside government and donor investments.
Mr Moukarzel added:"For instance, under a new policy and incentive scheme, Finatrade could foresee creating a �Rice Masters Matching Fund�, which would seek to make interventions in working capital for inputs, equipment and mechanisation and research and development in improved genetic stock".
He also mentioned irrigation schemes, small farmer training, technical assistance funding and take- off agreements as some of the interventions government could make to ensure higher production levels and the reduction of rice importation.
The Finatrade Executive Chairman said for nearly 14 years now, Finatrade had worked tirelessly to promote the production, marketing and distribution of locally grown rice in Ghana.
"We have invested in various ways, in partnership with farmer groups, irrigation companies, research institutes, and universities, to increase production and productivity in the rice sector.
�Based on our experience with the GADCO partnership, the key to success is ensuring a quality product and an efficient and far-reaching supply chain for smallholders to provide to the Ghanaian consumer," he added.
Mr Kofi Humado, Minister of Food and Agriculture noted that GADCO has employed many Ghanaian graduates to take up strategic positions in the company and pledged government's support to partner such corporate entities to create more jobs.
He said his outfit would use the partnership between GADCO and the community for other companies that are interested in investing in agriculture since it is one of the best agreements in the country that could enhance mutual benefits.
|Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the writers and do not reflect those of Peacefmonline.com. Peacefmonline.com accepts no responsibility legal or otherwise for their accuracy of content. Please report any inappropriate content to us, and we will evaluate it as a matter of priority.|