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Japan supports Ghana’s rice sector with $2.5m – Report

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RiceThe Japanese government is supporting Ghana’s rice sector with agricultural machinery worth $2.5 million, according to the website, oryza.com.

The publication citing local sources said the financing is under a Grant Assistance.

The machinery to be donated are made up of 77 agricultural tractors with matching implements, 49 power tillers, 20 rice threshers, 11 rice reapers and six rice mills.

The report indicates that the support is aimed at helping Ghana increase local rice production and reduce dependence on imports.

In 2013 Ghana’s annual rice import bill was $306 million and the government is planning to increase rice production by about 20 per cent per annum over the next four years to make Ghana self-sufficient in rice, it adds.

Ghana’s rice sector is embroiled in controversies. The Small Scale Rice Dealers Association of Ghana recently called for forensic auditing of all rice imports, which were cleared under warehousing.

The association believes that this is important to ensure transparency and accountability in the rice industry, which it says is embroiled in a lot of irregularities.

Over the weekend, the Bureau for Internal Affairs, an anti-graft organisation, called on the Ministry of Trade and Industry to ensure a balanced assessment of taxes paid by small scale and large-scale rice importers. It claimed that the Ministry has in a media report accused the Small Scale Rice Dealers Association of Ghana of tax evasion and smuggling of rice despite the ban on its activities since 2013.

Meanwhile, Ghana is expected to import 600,000 metric tons of rice between October 2014 and September 2015 to augment the country’s rice needs.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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