SHS students to consume only local rice from 2020

The National Buffer Stock Company (NAFCO) will from the 2020 academic year supply only locally produced rice (Ghana rice) to schools under the free senior high school programme (SHS), the Chief Executive Officer of NAFCO, Mr Hana Abdul-Wahab, has stated.

He said, currently, the company had been supplying wholly Ghana rice to second cycle schools in the Ashanti, Savanna, Northern, Upper East, Upper West and North East regions, but plans were advanced to cover the remaining 10 regions with only Ghana rice.

“This is mandatory and suppliers who flout this may suffer sanctions, including non-payment for services provided and revocation of licences,” Mr Abdul-Wahab stated.

Purchase and supply

Addressing a news conference on the status of Ghana rice patronage and consumption in Accra yesterday, Mr Abdul-Wahab said “as a collaborative gesture, we continue to refer our licensed suppliers to local rice millers and marketers, including Avnash Industries Ghana Limited, for the sales and patronage of Ghana rice.

“We have also issued licences to Avnash for the purchase and supply of Ghana rice to our schools under the free SHS programme, and also to our warehouses under our ECOWAS Stock Mutualisation Programme,” he stated.

About three weeks ago, there were series of media reportage of complaints from rice farmers in the Fumbisi Valley in the Upper East that even though they had produced tonnes of rice, they were not getting market for their produce.

The situation was blamed on the decision of a private company, Avnash Industries Ghana Limited, which decided not to buy the rice from the farmers this crop season due to the stock of paddy rice from the previous season that was yet to be milled and sold.

However, Mr Abdul-Wahab said some farmers in the Upper East Region over the weekend had informed the company that Avnash Industries Ghana Limited was set to mop up paddy rice from the field beginning last Sunday.

“Another major licensed buyer of ours is also currently in the field, buying significant quantities of paddy rice for milling and onward supply to our schools and warehouses,” the NAFCO chief executive said.

Helping economy

He noted that apart from Ghana rice being highly nutritious and healthy, NAFCO and other stakeholders were convinced that consuming Ghana rice could “save our struggling cedi, create more jobs within the agricultural and agribusiness value chain and in the long-term help grow our economy”.

“We are duly guided by the instructions from the President last Friday that all public institutions must buy and eat only Ghana rice from January next year. We will comply and lead the crusade to get all other state institutions to do the same,” Mr Abdul-Wahab assured.

The District Chief Executive for Builsa South, Mr Daniel Gariba, said the readiness of Avnash Industries to go to the area to purchase excess paddy had begun to put smiles back on the faces of the farmers.

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