The Ministry of Food and Agriculture is eyeing support from outside Ghana as part of its action plan to promote made in Ghana rice.
The Ministry’s efforts to improve the production, marketing and consumption of Ghana-Made-Rice started in 2017 through the launch of the Planting for Food and Jobs programme.
But awareness has heightened recently after a campaign started by Citi FM's CEO, Samuel Attah-Mensah.
Currently, local production stands at 460,000 metric tonnes with 640,000 metric tonnes imported annually.
So far, all rice valleys in the Ashanti, Eastern, Central, Western, Bono and Volta Regions have been commandeered for production under the Ghana Special Rice Initiative.
There has also been an increased supply and distribution of rice seeds under the Planting for Food and Jobs programme. The way forward
According to the Ministry, as part of interventions for processing, marketing and consumption, 1,000 pieces of Small Scale Milling Machines expected from Brazil and India will be distributed to local community millers to improve their capacity.
The Fumbisi Valley, which has the capacity to do produce 4,500 metric tonnes is currently producing just 1,000. The Ministry assured that the capacity will be expanded.
The National Food Buffer Stock has also been instructed to intensify the issuance of license and purchasing of both paddy and milled rice from local producers. Support from South African, UK firm
ETG, a South African commodity firm, has agreed to buy locally produced rice pending the signing of an agreement.
A UK firm according to the Ministry of Agric has also expressed interest in NAFCO and will come as strategic partners.
Wienco Ghana Limited and RMG are already purchasing paddy rice from farmers in the Volta Region which will be extended to other regions also.
Also, 10 major rice millers have agreed to buy locally grown rice for processing at 60 percent capacity which translates to 300,000 metric tonnes annually, representing over 23 million bags of home-grown rice.
This emerged at a meeting spearheaded by Ghana's lead campaigner for local rice consumption, Samuel Attah-Mensah with the John Agyekum Kufuor (JAK) Foundation and some 15 local rice millers.
A Memorandum of Understanding will also be signed between all major stakeholders and the Ghana Rice Importers Association for the purchasing, processing and marketing of Ghana Made Rice ahead of the proposed ban in 2022.
Key players in the campaign are the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ghana Commodity Exchange (GCX), the Ghana Rice Inter-Professional Body (GRIB), EXIM BANK GHANA, Private Enterprise Federation and the John Agyekum Kufuor Foundation.
The parties involved have in principle, committed themselves to the agreement contained in the MOU.
The 13-point document addresses amongst other issues:
1. Commitment to sell the rice produced in Ghana
2. Purchase Commitment for Ghana Rice
3. Financing the marketing of Ghana Rice
4. Conditions of Sale and Prices
5. Distribution of local rice purchases
6. Regulation of imports
7. Statistical Monitoring of production
8. Promotion of local rice