GHANA – The Ghanaian government has set aside US$684 million for domestic rice production and processing as part of its pathways to self-sufficiency in the next five years.

The decision, reached during the Dakar II Summit, seeks to increase local rice production in a bid to reduce the country’s US$560 million annual rice import bill and its concomitant impact on cedi depreciation.

Robert Ankobia, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture revealed the plan to the Business and Financial Times (B&FT) at an agriculture roundtable discussion themed ‘Investing in agriculture for employment’ organized by Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) in Accra.

Ankobia said that the money will also assist in the expansion of 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.

Ghana targets to rise of  30% rise in rice production from 1.14 million tonnes to 2.4 million tonnes per annum at the end of the project’s term.

To support the program, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture has set aside US$21 million to support research and development programs focused on expanding access to high-quality rice varieties.

In addition, rice is among the priority subsectors to be supported by various food security initiatives by the government including the US$613 million land development program that includes irrigation.

Another US$ 18 million has been earmarked by Ghana for technical assistance programs whike US$ 32 million has been set aside for for post-harvest programs and technologies.

The Dakar Summit brought together governments, the private sector, multilateral organizations, non-governmental organizations, and scientists to meet the escalating challenge of food security in Africa.

The 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.

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