GHANA – Ghanaian officials in agriculture have called for more investments in rice mills and drying facilities in the Adansi South District to cope with the increasing production of the food crop in the area.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency in an interview, Mr. Alfred David Mensah, Adansi South District Director of Agriculture said that rice production in the area had significantly increased in recent times.

Rice is the second most consumed cereal after maize in Ghana.  Further, rice is fast emerging as a strategic cash crop and an economic tool for the Ghanaian population even though the country still imports more than 60% of its domestic consumption.

However, the government of Ghana has embarked on local production to offset the US$ 1.3 billion financial burden used to import the commodity annually.

Expressing concern, Mr. Mensah said that there was a need for additional mills and drying facilities to help process the crops and prevent them from going to waste.

The establishment of factories will also motivate the farmers to continue to produce more since they will have assurance that their produce will not go to waste.

Mensah attributed the increase in production to the high demand for locally produced rice on the Ghanaian market.

He said in recent times most consumers were turning to locally produced rice and this had helped increase the demand and price of local rice for the farmers and thereby, boosting production.

On the other hand, the increase in the dollar rate against the local currency has affected the importation of rice, leading to a rise in imported rice.

This situation, according to Mr. Mensah, had been to the advantage of local rice production in the area.

However, most farmers have no access to drying facilities and mills, and this was affecting production in the area.

The heavy rainfall in the area this year was also affecting the drying since most farmers rely on the sunlight to dry their produce.

Mr. Mensah called on the government to speed up the construction of the rice factory and drying platforms at Atobiase to complement the one at Berekete to help the farmers.

He also urged private individuals to come and establish rice processing factories and drying platforms in the area to help boost rice production.

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