The importation of rice can be drastically reduced if the necessary measures are taken to boost rice production in Ghana, the Manager of Worawora Ricemill, a subsidiary of Groupe Nduom, Percival Ofori Ampomah has said.
Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show, Mr. Ampomah suggested what he termed a comprehensive approach to boosting local rice production in Ghana.
He was optimistic rice production in Ghana can be up-scaled if government and other key investors decide to channel more resources to that sector.
Though he indicated that an active role by these two players could reduce rice importation, Mr. Ampomah was quick to add that, these efforts should be complemented with a rigorous sensitization on locally produced rice, and a constant irrigation of farm lands across the country.
Mr. Ampomah admitted that, though successive governments have always been committing some sort of efforts into reducing the importation of rice, the dream of drastically reducing rice importation can be achieved if the above mentioned suggestions are considered.
“The good news is that, there are irrigated lands that are lying there, that are not being used so the potential is considerably great and production can be up-scaled to the extent where we can get that 70 percent mark. I will say that, if government or anybody wants to support that effort [Reducing rice importation], it is possible and we can do that. We can actually do this in five years or even less than that. Once we develop these irrigated farms, we will be able to produce enough to replace the importation. We can get a very good percentage produced locally. But more investors need to come on the field in terms of agriculture. Also on the market, more people need to sensitize Ghanaians about eating local rice and the nutritional content ..It is a comprehensive approach.”
Rice import costs Ghana US$500m annually
In 2016, the Director of Finance and Administration at the John Agyekum Kufuor Foundation, Victor Kufuor, revealed that Ghana was spending 500 million dollars every year through the importation of rice.
Mr. Kufuor said this posed serious challenges to local rice production, making it noncompetitive in the local markets.
He said the taste for foreign goods by Ghanaians have grown in recent times, affecting the country’s balance of trade.
“We are importing over 500 million dollars worth of foreign rice. Why should we do that? Even some of the countries we are mentioning we probably are even better than them,” he said. The statistics comes at a time when the Trade Ministry is campaigning for Ghanaians to embrace and promote ‘Made in Ghana Goods’.”
By: Marian Ansah/citifmonline.com/Ghana