COVID-19 has undoubtedly had a negative impact on various economic activities globally. Nonetheless, there have been many positive gains for others who are particularly creating solutions to problems brought on by the pandemic.
Developing countries in particular are beginning to look more inward for solutions than being dependent on other countries.
Ghana for instance spends over 300 million dollars annually to import rice, a situation that has stifled the growth of local rice production.
But due to reduced importation of rice caused by the pandemic, the demand for local rice has increased in the last few months according to the Ghana Rice Millers Association.
Convener of the Ghana Rice Millers Association, Yaw Adu Poku, confirmed this to Citi Business News.
“Stay at home, no cross border trade has all come in to boost Made in Ghana or Eat Ghana because that is readily available, and that has increased the demand for local rice hundred fold. But unfortunately we had then harvested, so what we had is what we brought out, and this is the very tail end of that half as I keep on saying.”
“COVID has pushed our demand higher and we have also risen to the occasion, but we are just at the end where the stock is not going to last. Fortunately, by ending of this month, we’ll have first stock in so the demand we hope will stay as it or even go up” he added.
Rice farmers in the country have constantly appealed for support from government starting from farm inputs, access to cheaper credit and ready market for their produce.
Sometime last year, the produce of rice farmers in the Fumbisi Rice Valleys in the Builsa South District of the Upper East Region had their produce stuck for several weeks due to lack of ready market.
Their plight was a representation of a lot of farmers across the country. This forced Citi FM and Citi TV to spearhead the Buy-Made-in-Ghana rice campaign in the last quarter of 2019 in order to get people to consume more local rice. The campaign increased the demand for locally-produced rice in Ghana especially during the Christmas season.
Unfortunately, in March this year, the country recorded its first case of covid-19, which subsequently led to a number of restrictions that affected economic activities.
But it appears local rice producers gained from the misfortune as checks by Citi Business News at a number of shopping centres that deal in the local rice revealed a growing demand for the product.