GHANA – A local rice processing company has formally introduced locally processed and packaged rice, boosting domestic rice production and processing in the country and reduce imports.

Royal Farmers Rice is a premium parboiled long grain rice, which is locally produced to meet the rising demand for the produce in Ghana and the surrounding countries.

It is produced Avnash Rice Mill, located at Nyankpala in the Tolon District of the Northern Region of the country.

The company buys quality rice from local farmers for processing at its newly constructed mill.

The launch of the mill was graced by the country’s President Nana Akufo-Addo, who described the operations of Avnash Rice Mill as a good signal that would help to attract more investments into the country.

He urged rice farmers to increase rice production, as there was a ready market for their produce.

Mr Jai Mirchandani, Director of Avnash Rice Mill, said the processing plant, a state of the art facility with the capacity to processing 500 metric tonnes of paddy rice per day, was capable of feeding the entire country with the highest quality of rice.

He estimates that Tthis year, the new mill will touch the livelihoods of 32,000 farmers, plus that of about 200,000 transporters, aggregators, mechanised service suppliers, inputs providers, and their families.

He said the company had committed in its five-year plan to support and create at least one million jobs (direct and indirect) by 2022.

The Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, disclosed during the opening ceremony that according to the 2016 figures of his ministry, US$1.1 billion worth of rice was imported into the country.

He said that the recently launced Planting for Food and Jobs programme would help rice farmers to increase their production to feed the Avnash Rice Mill, which was currently underperforming because rice produced locally was not enough to meet its capacity.

Avnash Rice Mill expects to receive increased rice production by farmers from the locality, including Abanga Farms, a large scale rice producer, which has cultivated 1,200-acre rice farm in the Northern Region to help meet its demand.

Mr Thomas Abanga, Director of Abanga Farms said he had earmarked large acreages for rice cultivation next year to ensure regular high tonnage supply of high quality paddy rice to the rice processing sector to minimise the high volume of rice imported.