GHANA – The government of Ghana has partnered with Japan, and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), to launch a new project aimed to strengthen rice value chain.

The project seeks to build the capacity of value chain actors – mainly farmers, agro-traders, crop processers, and public supporting institutions through use of modern technologies, realize higher value creation, and comply with market requirements.

Its activities will focus on quality assurance, increased productivity and business competitiveness, as well as the supply of equipment.

The use of best practices and modern management systems is expected to enhance the quality of the harvested rice and the products derived from it.

Rice is an important crop in Ghana, with a steady increase in consumption over recent decades due to population growth, urbanization and changes in consumer habits.

However, multiple challenges across the value chain are holding back the full development potential of national rice production.

According to USDA, local rice consumption in the country is set at 1.58 million metric tonnes for the period 2021/22, with production estimated to reach 600,000 metric tonnes.

In a bid to bridge the supply gap, the public and private sector have been mulling investments to boost rice production and processing, in pursuit of attaining the targeted 1.6 million metric tonnes of milled rice by 2023.

The government recognizes that efforts aimed to make the domestic rice value chain more competitive would not only contribute to economic growth and structural transformation, but also to solving developmental challenges like poverty and job creation for youth, women, and other vulnerable population groups.

The project will be implemented by UNIDO in coordination with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the government of Japan under the funding scheme of the government of Japan.

Shifting focus to the cocoa value chain, the government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Food and Beverage Manufacturers Group to promote Ghana’s Cocoa in the Emirati market.

The agreement also laid the foundation for investment through cocoa contract farming or chocolate production.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, Mr Yofi Grant, revealed that three Emirati companies were already in the country to prospect for either the acquisition of old factories or the setting up of new factories for chocolate manufacturing.

The investment will promote local value addition of cocoa, enabling the West African country to fetch higher prices for the produce with its total cocoa export earnings, standing at US$2 billion.

By boosting value addition, Ghana will be able to tap into the lucrative 130 billion chocolate market.

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