Business News of Saturday, 1 December 2018
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has entered into a 2.5 million euro Public Private Partnership (PPP) agreement to boost rice production in the country.
The agreement, known as “Ghana Rice Initiative”, is expected to last 36 months beginning this month, November 2018.
It is being championed by the German Government and implemented by AGRA and other partners.
Dubbed “Public private partnership for competitive and inclusive rice value chain development: Planting for Food and Jobs – Rice Chapter,” the project is aimed at increasing rice production, strengthening and expanding access to output markets among others.
It also intends to adopt a two-tier approach on short, medium and long-term solutions to enable the government achieve its sub-sector goal of becoming self-sufficient in rice production to improve the livelihoods of 128,763 farmers by 2020.
The project will be implemented in the Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Northern, Central and Volta regions.
Already, about 130,000 farmers from 110 districts in the beneficiary regions have been supplied with subsidised certified seeds under the project.
The sector minister, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, said the project was in line with the government’s flagship ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ programme.
He stated that a recent tour of some regions revealed that the Central Region had the capacity to produce double the rice requirements of the country.
Dr Akoto said the rice that would be produced would be of high quality comparable to international standards.
According to him, the rice currently produced in the country was good. “It is just that the milling capacity is low and cannot cope with the increasing rice production in the country,” he added.
The minister also stated that the Planting for Food and Jobs programme was yielding results, and added that besides rice, millet, soya beans, maize and vegetables, the programme also extended support to groundnut and cassava farmers this year.
He further announced that his outfit was to receive a $220 million facility from Brazil and India for the importation of machinery from those countries to “take away the drudgery of farmers”.
For his part, the German Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Christoph Retzlaff, expressed the hope that their partnership with AGRA on the project would be fruitful.
He said the initiative could pave the way for more domestic rice production and less dependence on imports to help achieve the “Ghana beyond aid” agenda.
Mr Retzlaff also said the initiative would offer an opportunity to align and leverage resources on existing programmes such as Competitive Rice Initiative (CARI), Green Innovation Centre (GIC) and existing bilateral agricultural activities in the country.