Funding has been secured by the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) – an organization dealing with agricultural products in Africa – and a Swedish agricultural development partner, Intervalle to increase the volume of local rice production.
The major key stakeholders these bodies are collaborating with to spearhead this project are the Ghana Rice Inter-Professional Body (GRIB) and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA).
The project is now at the initial stage where a number of rice farmers across all districts where rice is grown are being mobilized and sensitized. The next stage of the project is expected to begin significant increase in actual production. Currently, the volume of Ghana’s rice production is around 700 metric tonnes.
Speaking with the Goldstreet Business, President of GRIB, Nana Kwabena Agyei Ayeh II said his outfit is committed to ensure that all members across the value chain get the needed capacity and support that will propel them to produce standardized rice that is capable of competing with imported rice.
“Before the end of the year, people will hear more of AGRA, GRIP, MoFA and Intervalle collaborating to increase production of rice”, he promised.
Last year, government set up an ambitious plan to increase rice production by 49 percent as statistics from the Agricultural Ministry indicate that the shortfall below self-sufficiency in rice production stands at 51 percent, despite a 200 percent increase in production over the last decade.
Currently, records indicate that only 15 percent of rice farms are irrigated whiles the remaining 85 percent do not have access to mechanized irrigation facilities. This, Nana Agyei Aryeh II noted, is a serious risk factor which needs immediate intervention by all stakeholders.
Over the past years, rice farmers and other stakeholders have appealed to government to consider giving more concessionary financing to boost production by the rice industry. The current funding by AGRA and Intervalle is therefore encouraging to rice farmers.
With the needed support and funding channeled into the sector, it is expected to contribute to the collective goal of reducing the high level of rice importation that is costing Ghana lots of valuable foreign exchange.
By Dundas Whigham