GHANA – The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) has launched a US$2.4 million national rice Initiative with an aim to reduce over-reliance on imports and enhance the country’s rice self-sufficiency, reports Ghanaian Times.

Referred to as Public-Private Partnership for Competitive and Inclusive Rice Value Chain Development: Planting for Food and Jobs-Rice Chapter, the initiative focuses on rice production and will run for a period of three years starting December this year.

The programme would increase rice productivity for smallholder farmers, strengthen and expand access to output markets, increase the capacity of the farmers and agricultural systems to prepare and adapt to shocks and improve continental.

Additionally, it would also strengthen continental, regional and government multi-sectoral coordination and mutual accountability in the agricultural sector.

The project is funded by German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development under its special programme ‘One World-No Hunger’.

It is also supported by Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), JAK Foundation, Volta City Farms, Sparkx, Hopeline Institute and Intervalle.

The programme aims to reach 130,000 smallholder rice farmers in the country with a goal to improve their productivity and yields.

It explores the role played by the government, farmers and other stakeholders to harness the benefits of agriculture into growing the economy.

The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the initiative was in line with government’s plan to transform the agricultural sector as part of its developmental agenda to ensure regular food supply.

According to him, the government looks to reduce rice importation by 30% within the next three years and to meet the targeted import substitution, there as need to increase domestic production from 442,000 metric tonnes to 600,000 metric tonnes within the next three years.

Speaking on the development, Dr Agnes Kalibata, President of AGRA said that AGRA was focused on inclusive agriculture transformation in the country by enhancing improved productivity.

AGRA would contribute by providing technical assistance in rice production investments, infrastructure and value chain.

Also, AGRA would create commercial opportunities for rice farmers to ensure more access to markets, improved access to services and products including financing and high quality inputs.