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July 19, 2011

Ghana: Rice imports killing local growers - FAO

by Michael Sarpong Bruce

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) says Ghana’s over-reliance on foreign imported rice is becoming a source of worry.

“By limiting the importation of rice, the country will save money and invest in market development to increase productivity and expand growth. This is how most countries develop,” said FAO Representative in Ghana, Musa Saihou Mbenga

“Ghana has the potential to meet local demand. There is need to adopt pragmatic policies designed to move local production up.”

Ghana currently spends US$450million annually on rice importation to satisfy local demand. The country’s self-sufficiency in rice production stands at about 30 percent, leaving a shortfall of 70 percent.

It is estimated that the Aveyime rice project, when it reaches full-capacity production of about 800,000 tonnes, will save Ghana over US$600 million at the current cost of rice importation, possibly yielding a surplus for the country.

Everett Anderson, Managing Director of Prairie Volta Limited, manager of the project, was recently reported as saying that the Aveyime project could put Ghana in a position to meet the entire rice needs of the West African sub-region.

But in the meantime, the preference for rice imports has hurt local production and made it more difficult for local producers to compete with the high-quality marketing and production standards of foreign rice.

Business and Financial Times

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