Rice is the most consumed staple food in Ghana.
About 90% households in Ghana depend solely on rice for their daily meal.
However, rice production in the country seems not to have been given the needed attention by both local and foreign investors.
Arguably, local farmers are not able to produce enough to feed the country. It is against this backdrop that, the country depends heavily on imported rice to feed its citizenry.
Ghana has inland valley and waterlog areas suitable for large scale rice production but support to boost its productions has not been forthcoming.
The increasing demand for local rice call for serious attention to be given to the production of the staple in the country but the question are our farmers in the position to produce enough rice to feed the country?
One may need a capital of about Gh¢1,500.00 to cultivate one hectare of rice, Mr. Kojo Ntim, a rice farmer has said.
Speaking to gardja.org, during a visit to his one hectare rice farm at Abenase in the Ejisu-Juaben Municipality, Mr. Kojo Ntim noted that rice farming is a lucrative venture and implored his fellow farmers in the country to go into.
Mr. Kojo Ntim dsclosed that, the land was leased to him for two years at the cost of Gh¢ 200.00 to cultivate the rice, aside the land acquisition, labour and other logistics cost him Gh¢1,500.00.
Mr. Ntim whose rice is at the maturity stage, hinted that he is likely to reap 15 bags of rice from the one hectare rice farm that he cultivated.
According to him, they resort to the traditional method of processing rice locally after harvesting, adding that it is time consuming and poses risk to their health during harvesting.
Processing, packaging and branding of our local rice to meet domestic demand are a key factor we must consider as a country, he stressed.
Undoubtedly, Ghana’s quest to increase rice production from 20,000 to 200,000 metric tons in the near future needs to be relooked at considering the fact that we now import 500 Million Dollars worth of rice.
In January 2015 the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) projected that between October 2014 and September 2015, Ghana would import 600,000 metric tons of rice to augment the country’s needs.
Against this chronic bottlenecks, rice farmers want the government to prioritize rice farming to cut the huge importation bill by focusing on production and consumption of local produce.
This could create competition between local rice industries and generate wealth and jobs for many unemployed youth in the society.