Deputy Agric Minister Kennedy Nyarko Osei has said by 2023, government is planning to either ban or drastically reduce the importation of rice into the country by 90%.
The Akim Swedru MP, under the current government’s Planting for Food and Jobs policy, the country produces about 50% of rice consumed in the country, which is projected to increase significantly as the years progress.
Speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express, the Manifesto Tracker, Kennedy Nyarko Osei stated that the New Patriotic Party has performed better in Ghana’s agricultural sector, specifically in rice production, in comparison with their predecessor.
“Before we came to office, I mean 2016, milled rice, they [NDC] were doing just 474,000 metric tonnes in terms of milled rice. In terms of the paddy rice, they were doing about 660,000metric tonnes of paddy rice. And we have moved it.
“If you look at 2017 we did a little about it, 2018 we moved to 530, 2019 we’ve moved to 638 metric tonnes. And if you are to compare this to our annual consumption rate, we are doing almost about 1.32 million metric tonnes of rice as annual consumption rate.”
He stated the steady growth in the rice-growing industry would ensure that the country becomes self-reliant on its own rice produce in three years, thus necessitating either a total ban on the importation of rice or at least a 90% reduction of rice imports into the country.
He said: “As I speak, we’re doing almost about 50% of annual consumption, locally. And our target is by 2023, we should be able to meet our demand which is about 1.6 million metric tonnes.
“Which is why we have given ourselves a target that by 2023, we are going to ensure that importation of rice into this country either it is scrapped or minimized by 90%. If you want to import, it shouldn’t be more than 10%.”
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) spokesperson on Agriculture, Michael Harry Yamson, who was also a guest on the show was quick to point out that the gains of the NPP government’s Planting for Food and Jobs was as a result of the ‘seeds they had sown’ early on in their administration.
He said, “We do say that government is a continuum, and so I’m not shy or in any way disappointed if the agricultural sector has benefitted from the foresight of the last NDC administration.
“And I’ll say that kudos to my colleague for the growth that has been recorded.”