Mr. Richard Twumasi-Ankrah, Director at the Planting for Food and Jobs Secretariat at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture says the Ministry is fully committed to reducing the annual rice import bill.
He said rice imports were high because the local rice industry in the past was plagued with challenges, which necessitated the importation of substantial quantities to supplement national demand.
Mr Twumasi-Ankrah was speaking at the launch of Mama Gold local jasmine rice introduced by Olam Ghana.
Olam Ghana is leveraging its established operational infrastructure and wide sourcing network to collaborate with rice growers and millers in the Volta, Ashanti and Eastern Regions to produce and stock the rice.
Mr Twumasi-Ankrah said rice was one of the priority crops being promoted under the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) Campaign and stressed that the Ministry’s primary effort had been directed at putting in place a strategy for increasing farm level productivity.
He said the government intervention had resulted in improved yield from an average of 2.72 metric tons per hectare in 2016 to an average of 4.2 metric tons per hectare in 2019, adding that local rice production has increased from 688.000 metric tons of paddy production in 2016 to a total paddy production of 925,000 metric tons in 2019.
On her part, Mrs. Christiana Anim-Asare, Marketing Manager at Olam Ghana, said, “We are proud to be the first company to source from local suppliers and launch a rice brand that is entirely ‘Made in Ghana’.
“With our market knowledge and experience in rice farming, sourcing and distribution across Africa, we have done extensive work to ensure that Mama Gold will deliver clean, well packaged and tasty local jasmine rice that Ghanaians want. Beyond meeting our consumers’ requirements, the increased economic activity around locally produced rice will have a positive impact on the lives and livelihoods for many farmers and households,” the Marketing Manager said.
She said the launch of Mama Gold would support and continue the development of rice farming in Ghana and the government’s initiative to boost domestic rice production and processing to promote self-sufficiency and improve the country’s foreign exchange position.