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Sun, Sep

GHANA AIMS TO EXPORT RICE BY 2023, SAYS MINISTER OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURE

Business & Economy

Apart from becoming a self-sufficient rice-producing country by 2022, Ghana is expected to export rice from 2023.

Apart from becoming a self-sufficient rice-producing country by 2022, Ghana is expected to export rice from 2023.

 

This was announced yesterday by Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister of Food and Agriculture, in Accra.

The development will become possible following many initiatives put in place by the Akufo-Addo-led government, including a pledge to save the nation over US$1.5 billion a year in rice imports.

The Minister said aside from creating jobs for young Ghanaians nationwide, the government has put in place a number of plans to increase productivity and production.

Interventions

Dr Afriyie Akoto said under the interventions, outcomes expected include an increase of rice productivity, greater capacity for smallholder farmers to adopt good agricultural practices, and stronger domestic access to output markets.

“These interventions collectively are aimed at transforming the rice value chain to ensure increased competitiveness, food and nutrition security, jobs and wealth creation nationwide,” the Minister said.

He said domestic rice production is projected to rise from the current 456,000 tonnes of milled rice and reach self-sufficiency at 1,665,000 tonnes by 2023.

Seed intervention

The Minister said certain interventions have been implemented since 2017 under the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme.

At the beginning of the 2017 growing season, a total of 1,698 tonnes of rice seed were made available for cultivation. For the 2018 cropping season, 2,400 tonnes were given to farmers for cultivation.

The Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project supported farmers in the rice-growing areas with 394 tonnes of seed in 2018. In total, 6,825 tonnes of certified rice seed will be distributed to farmers this planting season.

The Savannah Agricultural Productivity Improvement Project is also expected to support farmers with 50 tonnes of breeder seeds every year and 1,080 tonnes of foundation seed every year over a five-year period.

Light use of fertiliser

Dr Afriyie Akoto said to enhance fertiliser use on rice fields, farmers have been encouraged within the subsidy framework to use fertilising inputs at the recommended rate on their farms.

In 2017, 164,000 tonnes of fertilisers were sold at subsidised prices to farmers for food crops including rice. In 2018, 243,017 tonnes were supplied under PFJ, and in 2019 the target has been set to reach 331,000 tonnes.

Mechanisation

Dr Afriyie Akoto says the government is expanding availability of various types of equipment suitable for developing valleys for rice cultivation.

Other agricultural machinery such as seeders, weeders, harvesters, threshers and rice mills is also being made available to support rice cultivation.

The Minister said in total 2,700 agricultural extension agents have been recruited to assist the farmers with outreach that will ensure technology transfer.

In addition, 3,000 motorcycles and 216 cars and trucks have been deployed to support farming nationwide.

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