Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta has bemoaned the rate at which rice is imported into Ghana despite being endowed with arable lands, water, and favorable conditions to produce the grains domestically.
According to him, Ghana annually imports rice in excess of US$2 billion although the country is well positioned to grow and produce rice for consumption and export purposes.
“It’s actually quite criminal for the country to continue to import rice while we’re endowed with arable lands, water, and favorable weather conditions for growing crops to mitigate any possible food crisis.”
“Since 2017, we’ve spent over a million dollars importing rice. What’s more embarrassing is that a country like Ukraine exports about 74 million tons of grains despite current conflicts, and you wonder why Ghana and Africa have fallen asleep.”
Ken Ofori-Atta made this known when he received a delegation of rice investors from Thailand led by Dr Joseph Siaw-Agyepong who is the Chief Executive Officer of the Jospong Group of Companies.
Touching on the implementation of the Ghana Cares ‘Obatanpa’ initiative, the Finance Minister said the program seeks to offer an alternative to addressing the current economic crisis.
Ken Ofori-Atta was however optimistic that Thailand’s partnership with Ghana’s private sector will lead to the commercialization of rice production geared toward reducing dependency on imports.
Meanwhile, Dr. Joseph Siaw-Agyepong on his part explained that the decision to venture into rice production will require technical knowledge and skills to increase yields.