Ghana on Friday received 10,496 metric tonnes of rice at the cost of 2.8 million dollars (22 billion cedis) from the Japanese Government. The package is part of Japan's Comprehensive Support on Food Security in Ghana, and it is provided to meet the increasing demand for rice in the country as well as complement Ghana's efforts at meeting her food requirements.
Mr Samuel Baafi Nyantakyi, Acting Chief Director of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, who received the consignment of rice noted that the Japanese food aid grant facility was just one of the several schemes through which the Japanese government assisted Ghana.
He said the donation would help the country to meet her food supply requirement, especially during the lean season. Proceeds from the sale of the rice would also be used to finance priority social projects that would be mutually agreed upon by both governments.
Mr Koichi Mizushima, Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Japan who presented the rice said the food aid was not intended to discourage local production, but rather to supplement imports to meet Ghana's annual production deficit that was about 180,000 metric tonnes.
He said one of the most remarkable contributions to the agricultural sector by Japan was the "small-scale irrigated agriculture promotion project" (SSIAPP), and explained that under the project, Japanese experts collaborated with Ghanaians to support small-scale farmers to modernise irrigation-based cost effective farming systems.
This, he said had helped to reactivate farmers' associations in Ashaiman in the Greater Accra Region and Okyereko in the Central Region. In addition, Japan was considering collaborating with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to help disseminate the new rice for Africa (NERICA) for upland rice farmers in Ghana.
Mr Mizushima emphasised that although the government of Japan would continue to support Ghana in its socio-economic development efforts, Ghanaians must have the ultimate ownership of every development project in order to achieve their target and to ensure their sustainability.