One of the largest rice farmers in the Yagaba-Kubori Constituency of the North East Region has criticised the Minister of Agriculture, Dr Afriyie Owusu Akoto, for not doing enough to achieve sustainability in rice production in the country.
He said the government is not making deliberate efforts to encourage people to go into rice production.
According to Alhaji Abdul Rauf Tanko, the country has the potential to achieve sufficiency in rice production but the Minister is not doing enough in those directions.
If people are encouraged to go into rice production we can meet demand and export the rest, he posited.
He minced no words to say that the sector minister is just not serious about achieving sufficiency in rice production in the country nor encouraging people to go into rice farming.
He doesn’t know his job, Mr Tanko charged.
Alhaji Tanko who was a one-time Member of Parliament for the Yagaba-Kubori Constituency on the ticket of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) gave this description to the sector Minister while speaking on the improving rice production series ahead of the yuletide on the 505 evening news analysis programme on Accra-based Class 91.3 FM on Friday, October 21, 2022, hosted by Korku Lumor.
The former lawmaker alleged the Agric Minister thinks that policies for Agriculture are all the time made on paper as against actual implementation.
“You cannot implement Agriculture policy on paper and achieve results,” he said.
He said there must be a deliberate attempt for achieving rice sufficiency in the country.
He claimed that as it stands now there are no such attempts to achieve that feat.
All the Minister thinks about is the Planting for Food and Jobs, which only provides fertilisers to small-holder farmers, he asserted.
He said for the Minister to claim credit for the bumper harvest in the rice industry in 2019 was unfortunate.
Mr Tanko expressed the view that 70 per cent of the bumper harvest in the northern regions was from the commercial farmers and not the peasant farmers who were part of Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ).
He charged that for farmers to go and credit fertilisers, only for them to experience a foreign bird invasion during harvest while the Minister sits in Accra and drinks tea without seeing the need to go to their aid and then claiming credit for their efforts is not in order.
He argued that with the needed support, rice farmers in his area (Yaadiri) could help the country cut back on the importation of rice.
He further commended the individuals who have made efforts in the rice production industry.