Despite the current scarcity and hikes in the price of local rice in the Northern sector, demand for the commodity continues to soar on the market as compared to other products.
The high demand for local rice has made its trade in the northern sector a booming one, with most youths currently taking advantage of the business.
Observations by the B&FT at various processing centres in the Tamale Metropolis and Sagnerigu Municipality indicate that the region’s rainfall pattern helped the farmers to record a bumper harvest, though unavailability of combine-harvesters remains a challenge to most farmers.
Also, the cost of inputs has resulted in increments of the price – as well as for tractor services for production activities.
A rice processor, Memunatu Iddrisu – who works with Lowlandi Rice Processing Centre, told B&FT that the demand for local rice has been high due to the campaign by government and stakeholders.
“We used to sell less than ten bags a day, but the campaign and current situation have encouraged high demand so that we are able to sell more than 20 bags a day. The situation has exerted pressure on us to demand more hands in order to process the commodity,” she said.
Indeed, the Department of Agriculture and Savannah Zone Agriculture Productivity Improvement Project (SAPIP) have been engaging farmers in those municipalities, while supporting them in gaining access to finance and tractor services.
The Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Officer at the Department of Agriculture-Tamale, Felix Oteng Dwaah, told B&FT that the Department engaged the services of Agricultural Extension Agents in the region to assist farmers on best agronomic practices.
The hike in price
At the processing centre in Tamale, the price of an Olonka of 5kg has increased to GH¢30 from GH¢15; 12.5kg has increased to GH¢70 from GH¢40; and 25kg has increased to GH¢150/300 from GH¢100 based on the variety.
On the market, it ranges between GH¢80 to GH¢100 for 5kg and GH¢300 to GH¢400 for 25kg.
At Fumbisi in the Sandema district of the Upper East Region, a hub of rice production, 5kg of local rice goes for GH¢80 while 25kg goes for GH¢350.