Private sector must invest in local rice industry

20.10.2016

Stakeholders in the rice industry have urged the private sector to heighten their interest in domestic rice production by investing more in the sector.

This was said at the 3rd Ghana Rice Festival organised by the Ghana Rice Inter-Professional Body (GRIB) in Accra.

In an interview with the B&FT, Mike Bartels, German Cooperation—Green Innovation Center for The Agriculture and Food Sector, Ghana, said there is tremendous opportunity in the rice industry to thrive if the private sector increases its participation.

“We believe that there is a huge potential in the rice production in Ghana which is untapped. I don’t believe that it is the task of only the government to promote the local rice industry. It is the responsibility of the government to create a conducive framework for innovations that work so that the private sector takes over the task of investing in machinery and logistics that will help the industry thrive,” he said.

Also speaking at the function, the Minister of Food and Agriculture (Crops), Dr Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan, said, for the rice sector to develop, there is the need for the private sector to complement government’s efforts in the rice value chain.

He maintained that government takes the rice sector very seriously, and to that effect, introduced certain initiatives to boost production and consumption of local rice.

Some of the interventions, he said, include the Rice Sector Support Project (RRSP), West Africa Agriculture Productivity Programme (WAAPP) which is managed by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) and implemented by the Enhanced Access to Quality Rice Seed Initiative (EAQRSI).

“These selected projects have on their own contributed and impacted 18,392 farmers and resulted in the cultivation of 15,692 hectares with resultant yields of 52,720mt in 2015. This has been done through the provision of seeds, improved agric-inputs, technical training on good agronomic practices, land development and better water management systems,” Dr Ahmed said.

He further stated that some irrigation schemes had been introduced to ensure that rice farmers can produce all-year-round, adding that, Ghana has been able to produce more than 50percent of its rice consumption domestically since 2014.

“Because government realises a need for more than one crop in a year to maximise production volumes, some irrigation schemes have been identified for development for rice production. A 10,000 hectare Nasia Nabogo Project is ongoing and prospective developers, and farmers have been identified.

The objective is to produce rice under a rain water harvest management system of about 3,000 hectares within a period of three years with the potential yield of 12,000mt,” he said.

Local rice consumption is estimated at 770,000mt per year, with premium rice comprising 24percent of the total market.

Typically, local rice is regarded as inferior to imports, with urban consumers willing to pay a 113percent premium for imported rice.

This, the President of the Ghana Rice Inter-Professional Body (GRIB), Imoro Amoro, has called for more patronage of locally produced rice as he maintains that the local rice producers have put in a lot of efforts and resources to ensure that rice produced in the country matches international standards of quality.


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