Business News of Saturday, 7 December 2019
President Nana Akufo-Addo has urged Ghanaians to increase their consumption of local rice as part of efforts to ensure the sustainability of the local rice industry which has faced difficulties in recent times.
Speaking at the 35th National Farmers’ Day celebration held in the Volta regional capital, Ho, President Akufo-Addo the government’s efforts in ensuring self-sufficiency in rice production depends largely on the level of consumption of local rice.
“We must eat what we grow to motivate our farmers and support the development of the local food industry. Rebecca, my beautiful wife; our First Lady, insists that we eat local rice at home and has made sure of this. I call on all Ghanaians to follow my example and eat local rice.”
President Akufo-Addo stated that as part of the government’s moves to support local rice production, the state ordered milling materials from China and Brazil.
The materials are expected to arrive in Ghana in the middle of 2020, to provide “appreciable relieve to farmers and boost the grain industry.”
The President also said his administration will continue “to prioritize and support agriculture to make the sector one of the most viable driving forces of Ghana’s economic development and transformation.”
Government’s action plan
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture’s efforts to improve the production, marketing and consumption of Ghana-Made-Rice started in 2017 through the launch of the Planting for Food and Jobs programme.
But awareness has heightened recently after a campaign started by Citi FM’s CEO, Samuel Attah-Mensah.
Currently, local rice production stands at 460,000 metric tonnes with 640,000 metric tonnes imported annually.
The Fumbisi Valley, which has the capacity to do produce 4,500 metric tonnes is currently producing just 1,000.
The Ministry assured that the capacity will be expanded.
The National Food Buffer Stock has also been instructed to intensify the issuance of license and purchasing of both paddy and milled rice from local producers.
Wienco Ghana Limited and RMG are already purchasing paddy rice from farmers in the Volta Region which will be extended to other regions also.
Also, 10 major rice millers have agreed to buy locally grown rice for processing at 60 percent capacity which translates to 300,000 metric tonnes annually, representing over 23 million bags of home-grown rice.
The government has also communicated plans to ban the importation of rice by 2022.