GHANA – Ghana has embarked on comprehensive initiatives to promote rice production as part of the country’s ambitions of realising rice self-sufficiency by 2023.
According to Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), the government has rolled out a number of interventions to increase productivity and production as it gears up towards meeting the 1,665,000 metric tonnes target by 2023.
“It is projected that domestic rice production will increase from the current 456,000 MT of milled rice (2018) and reaching self-sufficiency by producing 1,665,000 MT by 2023.
“Ghana Government’s current agenda to transform the rice industry targets to achieve self-sufficiency in the year, 2023,” he said.
The initiatives being undertaken by government are anticipated to increase production to address current deficit level of 656,000 metric tonnes to a surplus of 365,230 metric tonnes in 2023.
According to the Minister, the interventions collectively aim at transforming the rice value chain to ensure increased competitiveness, food and nutrition security, jobs and wealth creation nationwide.
“Various outcomes are expected which includes; increasing rice productivity for smallholder farmers, increasing the capacity of smallholder farming households to adopt good cultural practices, strengthening and expanding domestic access to output market and, improving extension delivery,” he explained.
According to a report by Ghana News Agency, he said that Ghana was currently importing on a yearly basis, US$1.5 billion worth of rice.
In the beginning of the 2017 growing season, he disclosed, a total of 1,698 metric tonnes of rice seed were made available for cultivation while for 2018 cropping season, a total of 2,400 MT was made available to farmers.
Additionally, the ministry agriculture under the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJs) is also set to support farmers to go into rice farming as part of the government’s Special Rice Initiative Project this year.
Under the initiative, the government has already started bringing into the country some of the state-of-art farming machines to help ensure that Ghana becomes self-sufficient in rice production.
The Ministry has also partnered the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to help rice farmers to scale up the production of quality local rice in the country.