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MoFA launches initiative to boost rice production

BY: Emmanuel Bonney

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has launched a technology-based initiative geared towards boosting the production of rice in the country.

Dubbed “Improving the technology and quality control system for higher addition in the post-harvest processes of the rice value chain project,” it seeks to contribute to rice self-sufficiency in the country by 2025.

The three-year project which would be implemented in the Ashanti and Northern regions, would involve the use of modern equipment for post-harvest phases, including threshing, milling and packaging of rice.

It also aims at building the capacity of value chain actors — farmers, agro-traders,crop processors and public supporting institutions for quality assurance, increased productivity and business competitiveness.

The project is being implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO),in collaboration with MoFA and the government of Japan who are the sponsors.

The Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, Mr Yaw Frimpong Addo, who launched the initiative in Accra yesterday, said more effort was needed to make the rice value chain competitive to improve lives.

Priority

He said the rice sector had been given priority through engagement with international, regional and national partners to boost domestic production to ensure sustainability and the comprehensive development of the crop.

Mr Addo said his outfit had also facilitated the revision of the national rice development strategy (NRDS) to achieve self-sufficiency by 2024, adding that “the NRDS will serve as a guide for all projects and interventions in the rice sector”.

The Japanese Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Mochizuki Hisanobu, said the project was significant in promoting the concept of human security, a key objective of Japan's official development assistance.

He said it would also ensure that “major actors in the national post-harvest value chain would be technologically upgraded, modernised and capacitated”.

Investments

For his part, the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr Charles Paul Iheanacho Abani, said the Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates that if significant interventions and investments in the rice value chain were made, its gross production value would reach $856 million.

He said the objective of the project was also to achieve sustainable and inclusive higher value creation and food supply capacity within the rice value chain in the country.

“This project comes at a time when Ghana seeks to become self-sufficient in rice production and consumption by 2023, through the implementation of transformative interventions in the Ghana CARES Obaatanpa Programme.

It will support government's consistent effort to reduce income inequality, especially in rural areas, by promoting and disseminating agricultural technology through its flagship agricultural programmes such as Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) and Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD),” Mr Abani said.