Dakar II Summit: Ghana aims to Cut $560m annual rice import bill
The investment will increase local rice production and reduce the country’s annual US$560 million rice import bill, as well as its impact on cedi depreciation. The investment will focus on increasing productivity growth and area expansion, improving post-harvest rice quality and value addition.
The Ghanaian government has made a commitment to invest US$684 million in domestic rice production and processing. This decision, reached at the Dakar II Summit, is aimed at achieving self-sufficiency in rice production in Ghana. The investment will increase local rice production and reduce the country’s annual US$560 million rice import bill, as well as its impact on cedi depreciation. The investment will focus on increasing productivity growth and area expansion, improving post-harvest rice quality and value addition.
The investment is expected to increase domestic rice production from the current 1.14 million tonnes to 2.4 million tonnes per annum, and increase yields by 30 percent. The Chief Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Robert Ankobia, stated that the funds would also be used to expand certified seed production to 25,000 tonnes per year, rehabilitate 21,000 hectares of irrigated lands, and develop 81,000 hectares of new rain-fed rice lands.
Of the total investment, US$21 million will be spent on research and development programmes focused on expanding access to high quality rice varieties, US$613 million on land development programmes including irrigation, US$18 million on technical assistance programmes, and US$32 million on post-harvest programmes and technologies. This investment is part of the country’s compact during the Dakar II Summit, which aims to attain self-sufficiency and agrifood transformation for the next five years.
The Dakar II Summit prioritizes key sub-sectors with the highest impact on food security, with key considerations for poultry, rice, and soybean. The compact focuses on production expansion and loss reduction in the country’s food value chain.
The country director of MEDA Ghana, Robert Austin, stated that it is crucial for the government to prioritize agricultural investments to put the country on the path of growth. The roundtable discussion, themed ‘Investing in agriculture for employment’, was organized by the Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) and became necessary to spark the conversation on job creation for young people in the agriculture sector.
MEDA is an international economic development organization that creates business solutions to poverty. For nearly 70 years, MEDA has been creating sustainable, scalable, measurable, and replicable business solutions to poverty.
The Dakar II Summit was hosted by Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal and Chairperson of the African Union, and co-hosted by the African Development Bank Group. The summit brought together governments, the private sector, multilateral organizations, non-governmental organizations, and scientists to meet the escalating challenge of food security in Africa.
Overall, the investment in domestic rice production and processing in Ghana is a step in the right direction towards achieving self-sufficiency and reducing the country’s dependence on imported rice. The investment will also create jobs in the agricultural sector and contribute to the country’s economic growth.