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Farmer Applauds Government For Banning Rice Importation   
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Alhaji Suhiyini Ziblim, a Ghanaian rice farmer and seller on Sunday said government’s ban on rice importation through the borders of the Ivory Coast has given a boost to local rice production in the country.

He said: ”Since October last year when the ban was imposed on the importation of rice from la Cote d’Ivoire, local rice production and sales has risen about 40 percent, a situation that is encouraging to local rice farmers to yield dividends for their year-long toil.”

Alhaji Ziblim who was speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra, said the ban on the importation had also curbed the perennial smuggling of the commodity into the country as some people took advantage of the practice to smuggle large tons thereby selling it cheaper to stifle the initiative of local farmers.

In October last year, government through the Ministry of Trade and Industry banned the inland importation of rice through the West African borders, especially through the Ivory Coast, because the rice from those countries was comparatively cheaper thereby rendering the local rice farmers redundant.

As a result, the consumption of local rice had risen about 40 percent according to the farmers in the last seven months, an indication that such figures could be doubled in years to come to give the farmers and local sellers the benefits of their hard work.

Alhaji Ziblim wondered why this ban was not imposed so many years back, adding ”I am sure if these measures were taken long time back, the local rice industry would have grown to feed all of us in this country and to feed other external markets.”

He appealed to the Ministry of Trade and Industry to also impose such bans on other commodities in line with government’s policy to reduce the importation of rice, tomatoes, oil, onions and other commodities to give a lifeline to farmers in the country to prove their worth.

“The ban I believe will also drastically check smuggling as the government was denied millions of cedis as a result of smuggling and tax evasion,” Alhaji Ziblim added.

He however called on colleague farmers and Millers to ensure good processing practices and good packaging that would sustain the appetite of consumers to increase their demand for local rice and other commodities.
Source: GNA

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