June 21, 2018

A glance at local rice production

Rice has become the second-most important food staple after maize in Ghana, and its consumption keeps increasing as a result of population growth, urbanisation and changes in consumer habits.

Ghanaians have over the years developed a strong appetite for imported rice due to its availability and distribution reach in the market, as well as its highly polished and fragranced nature.

Government, in view of this, has set an ambitious target to increase rice production this year as a measure to reduce rice imports so as to save the economy’s foreign exchange.

The nation’s value of rice imports has escalated eight-fold in 7 years – from US$152million in 2007 to a peak of US$1.2billion in both 2014 and 2015. In the same period, the volume of rice imports climbed from 441,000 metric tonnes to 630,000 metric tonnes.

According to figures from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), at the end of 2016 Ghana’s rice production stood at 687,680 metric tonnes.

Therefore, plans to increase production by 49% in 2017 means an addition of 337,500 metric tonnes, which will bring total production this year to a little over one million (1,025,180) metric tonnes.

The 337,500 metric tonnes increase expected this year is estimated to translate into GH¢371.2million (GH¢371,250,000) as value of this additional production.

This will also create some 226,800 direct and indirect employment opportunities comprising 32,400 direct jobs, 194,400 indirect jobs.

According to Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the rice production target is one of the five crops this year under the ‘Planting for food and jobs’ campaign aimed at turning farmlands and backyards into a huge food basket, which is expected to cut down the country’s food import bill drastically.

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