Ghana is speedily on course to becoming rice sufficient by 2023, Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto has noted. He said there is therefore no cause for alarm because Ghana has enough to feed its citizenry in these times.
According to the minister, Ghana produced 950,000 metric tonnes of rice in 2020 and will produce 1.2 million tonnes of rice in 2023.
He indicated that demand for rice is growing rapidly at 5% per annum which will require production to double up, “Two years ago I told this country that by 2023 Ghana should be producing 1.2million metric tonnes of rice, which will meet our domestic demand and we’re very much on course” he stressed.
He said, last year 2020, the country was able to reach 950,000 metric tonnes, “This year we’re targeting 1.1 million and we know that by 2023 we’ll meet the target of 1.2million. Demand for rice is growing rapidly at 5%per annum so we have to leapfrog in terms of the growth of production,” he said.
Speaking to the media after the presenting the ultimate cash prize of GHc570,000 to the 2020 National Best Farmer, Solomon Kusi, the Minister also assured that prices of maize will go down in the next three months.
“The issue of price is a structural problem. During this time of the year, maize prices are high because stocks are at their lowest, this is when farmers start planting. In the next three to four months, with the harvest of maize coming on the market, prices will go down. This is only a transitory problem but generally we see that maize production has doubled,” he stated.
For his part, the Managing Director of ADB, John Kofi Mensah disclosed that his outfit has disbursed GHc30 million to support pineapple farmers to help in the full realization of the Ekumfi Juice Factory, under the One District One Factory initiative.
“We have institutionalized the ‘Outgrower Financing Scheme’. For example, if you take Ekumfi factory that the President [Akufo-Addo] commissioned, the pineapple juice is the fastest growing so we decided to finance pineapple production. Hence, we have approved and disbursed GHc30 million for farmers in that zone,” he disclosed.
The National Best Farmer for 2020, Solomon Kusi, noted that he will use part of the money to acquire and install a Cocoa Drying House and employ more people, and therefore called on government to fix the road networks to farming communities.
“Road networks to the farming communities are bad. During the rainy season, some of the communities are not able to access the markets because of the bad roads. We’re pleading with government to expand the roads connecting to farming communities.”