ARAP stakeholders poised to boost rice production and trade

By Simon
Asare, GNA

Accra, Oct. 9, GNA – Africa Rice Advocacy
Platform (ARAP) on Tuesday held a learning event to address ways of enhancing
the production of rice on the continent as well as improving trade between
member countries to help curb the increased importation of rice.

The ARAP, created in 2016, through the
Competitive Africa Rice Initiative (CARI), in conjunction with J.A. Kuffour
(JAK) Foundation, seeks to create a common platform for various Africa regional
economic blocks, to promote trade and address challenges confronting the local
rice market to boost production.

Speaking at the event, Professor Baffour
Agyemang, the Chief Executive Officer of the JAK Foundation, enumerated the
significance of creating the ARAP platform to address the various challenges
confronting the African rice market and finding ways to resolving those
challenges. 

”The rice business in Ghana and Africa has
been of key interest to the former President, and he sees the significance of
supporting rice production across Africa.

”So the whole idea about promoting rice
production is to counteract the increase in the importation of rice, which is
certainly inimical to the economic health of the continent.

‘‘So it’s important we seek areas of
cooperation between East Africa and ECOWAS member countries to see how we can
begin to harmonise our policies and approaches to solving this particular
problem.

He further encouraged the creation of a
business atmosphere between ECOWAS and other African countries to plan and
execute strategies that will promote local rice production and reduce the
importation of rice.

In his address, the Acting ARAP Chair, Mr. Julius
Wambura, highlighted how most African rice markets share their challenges,
which gives them the opportunity to build a platform to facilitate activities
within the Africa rice markets.

”It’s shameful for Africa to be importing
rice to the tune of $4billion yearly while our farmers are complaining about
not having enough market for their produce and this situation has to be
corrected.

He further highlighted how to improve the
standards of rice production to meet the general standardized requirements to facilitate
easy trade among African countries.

Al- Hassan Imoro, a national rice desk officer
at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, said rice was one of the priority
crops, and as such government remains poised to increase rice production, as
various policies such as the Planting for Food and Jobs had been initiated to
solve the challenges.

GNA

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