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24 September 2016

US$200,000 rice seeds destroyed at port

riceSixty tonnes of foundation seeds worth US$200,000 meant for rice cultivation can no longer be used as seeds because they were kept at the Tema port for several months after they had arrived.

According to the General Manager of Prairie Volta Limited (PVL), Mr Kojo Osae-Addo, the seeds which cost US$2 per kilogramme expired at the port because the Ministry of Agriculture failed to take a quick delivery of them.

He said once the seeds were in the country, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture should have immediately taken control of them. Subsequently, he blamed the delay in clearing the seeds at the port on bureaucracy and the attitude of the government towards PVL.

“This is one example of the attitude towards PVL and it is costing us,” he told the Daily Graphic when the paper visited the company at Aveyime in the North Tongu District in the Volta Region.

Cost of delay

The foundation seeds arrived at the port in January 2016 but the PVL was able to clear them at the beginning of September and after several tests had been conducted on them it was realised that they could no longer be used for the purpose for which they had been imported.

“They spent about eight to nine months in the container so they have been cooking on the sea. For seeds like this, within three months or so you have to plant them. We thought we had the promise that we were going to get the funding for the equipment and so we were going to get operational in May/June but it hasn’t happened and the sad part of it is that we necessarily did not have to have the seed,” Mr Osae-Addo lamented.

He said, “The north is looking for seed, it is not there; the Volta Region is looking for seed. This is 60 tonnes of foundation seed.

When it arrived, it was germinating at the rate of 99 per cent. Nobody has this kind of foundation seed in Ghana as I speak and because of our affiliation with Prairie Texas (PTI), Mr John Vandyke Mensah’s company, and the Andersons who are members of the Texas Rice Improvement Association which was founded about 100 years ago, we are the only non-Texan institution or company that is a member.

When we ask for it, they prepare it for us specially. They helped us in the 28 variety test and this is what came out of it. They are affiliated to Texas A & M, which is a big seed research institution in America.”

Government aware

“The government is fully aware that we brought in this because they have to give exemptions and so on. You will think that we don’t have rice seed in Ghana. Go check if you can find 60 tonnes of foundation seed in Ghana anywhere – any variety of rice seed,” he dared the Daily Graphic team.

Mr Osae-Addo stressed that in view of their long stay at the port, the seeds were no more germinating and they could only be milled and sold as food.

“Now we have got the seeds, but they are not germinating and they are useless, so we can only mill them and sell it and when we mill and sell, it will only give us about GH¢150,000, yet we owe US$200,000 on them.”

PVL produces under the Volta Rice brand.

 

Source: Graphic.com.gh

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