The government’s ambition to achieve national self-sufficiency in rice production by 2024 has just over two and a half years left, and stakeholders in the rice sector are worried that extra work would be needed to make the plan a reality.
The National Rice Development Strategy (NRDS) was revised with the aim of achieving self-sufficiency by December 2024 by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) in order to ensure the sustainability and complete development of local rice production.
However, industry participants, such as the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG), are concerned that production issues, such as post-harvest losses, inappropriate harvesting and threshing technologies, inadequate/inappropriate storage facilities, among others, could jeopardise the self-sufficiency agenda by the set timeline as envisioned by MoFA.
Equally, the Ghana Incentive-Based Risk Sharing-System for Agriculture Lending (GIRSAL) has identified uncompetitive pricing, high cost of production and inconsistent quality as some basic issues affecting the affordability and patronage of locally produced rice on the market.
Currently, Vietnam, Thailand, India, Pakistan and China are the countries Ghana imports rice from. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, imports purchased US$282 million worth of rice from Vietnam; Thailand, US$45.5 million; India, US$27.3 million; Pakistan, US$20.6 million; and China, US$5.95 million; with the USA and others contributing as well.