As part of efforts to end the huge importation of perfumed rice and increase local rice production in the country, the government, through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture has resolved to support local rice farmers with improved rice seed.
The move has become necessary due to the high importation bill of rice and its cascading effect on the country’s currency.
Ghana spends almost $400 million annually to import rice from other countries, a situation the government finds very worrying and disturbing.
The Deputy Minister, in charge of Crops at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), Mr. Kennedy Osei Nyarko, said the government is positioning itself to resource local rice farmers to enable them to produce in large quantities to meet the rice consumption in the country.
Mr. Nyarko said this in Kumasi during his first encounter in a series with farmers drawn from the Ashanti region.
Rice has become the number one staple food in the country and the inability of our local farmers to produce in large quantities to meet national demand has given room for more importation of foreign rice.
The Deputy Minister has observed that Ghana has vast arable land for rice production, but the sector has not been given the needed attention due to the taste and preference for foreign rice.
He said the government is, therefore, devising a new strategy to end the huge importation of perfumed rice into the country, noting that, perfumed rice is dangerous to the health of consumers.
To this end, the government has acquired rice machinery for farmers to boost local rice farming and processing. The target is to produce 400,000 metric ton of rice in 2018.
Three districts in the Ashanti region are being piloted for the rice production, notably; Ahafo Ano North, New Edubiase and Bosome Freho.
Excerpt: Hon. Kennedy Osei Nyarko