Ohiamadwen Rice Growers Association in the Shama District of the Western Region has appealed to matrons to use locally produced rice in feeding students as it will boost growth of the industry to create jobs for the youth.
“If we had matrons from the various Training Colleges, SHSs, as well as those who are engaged in the Schools Feeding Programme purchasing our local rice, our market would have expanded,” Gideon Duanyewotor, Secretary of the association, told B&FT.
Also, he noted that it will enable them to produce more, employ a lot of people on the farm, and expand the economy of the district and the region as a whole.
Currently, he said, market women across the district usually purchase the rice from the farmers based on request from their clients. Hardly do they get an organisation buying it for their workers, especially in festive seasons.
His plea comes on concerns of players in the industry who have constantly expressed difficulty in having ready market for the local rice.
Access to market, he said, has always been a challenge to the members of the association as patronage is very low.
“We do not have accessible roads leading to our farms, no storage facility to stock our produce, and then no rice milling machine to make our work easy,” Mr. Duanyewotor lamented.
He, therefore, appealed to the Department of Agric, and other organisations that are interested in rice farming for support in terms of getting access to market, having a storage facility to enable them store their produce, as well as a rice milling machine which would remove the chaff – ‘outer husks’ of grains of rice.
“We are also appealing to investors to come and invest in our businesses for sustainability and growth,” he added.
He mentioned that the association, which was established in 2006 with less than 50 farmers, can now boast about 200 members. The farmers, he said, have over 1,000 acres of land for the rice farming.
May and June are the planting period and the rice is harvested in October and November.