GHANA – Paddy rice production in Ghana is expected to stand at 1.1 million tonnes in the 2023/24 rice season which starts in April, according to the latest report by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Agence Ecofin citing the report noted that the announced volume would mark a 16% increase compared to the stock of 987,000 tonnes harvested during the previous campaign.
In Ghana, rice is the second most consumed cereal after maize. However, the country still depends on imports to meet demand in the domestic market following limited local production.
The country’s consumption demand for rice is between 1.2 million and 1.4 million against a production capacity of 600,000 metric tonnes, only 47% of consumption needs.
However, the country 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.
Recently, 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 country targets a rise of 30% in rice production to 2.4 million tonnes per annum at the end of the project’s term.
In addition, the country has earmarked rice as 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.
According to USDA, the rice area is expected to gain an additional 25,000 hectares to stand at 325,000 hectares, despite rainfall for the campaign which is expected to be normal or below normal according to the Ghana Meteorological Agency (GMet).
The USDA explains the increase in surface areas by the revaluation in the country of the purchase price to the producer of a 175 kg bag of paddy.
This rate has increased by 95% to between 680 and 860 cedis ($56.67 and $71.67) during the 2022/2023 campaign against a level between 300 and 450 cedis ($25 and $37.5) one year earlier.
In Ghana, rice is mainly grown in the Volta, Northern, Upper Eastern Ghana, Ashanti, and Western regions.
Rice import demand in Sub Sahara Africa could contract in 2023 -Osiriz
Meanwhile, the International Rice Statistics Observatory (Osiriz) in its latest note on the cereal market stated that rice import demand is expected to decline by 3% in Sub-Saharan Africa for MY 2023.
The report links the decline to the prospect of improved harvest in several countries in the region.
This comes at a time when SSA accounts for a third of world cereal purchases, hence this marks a major step toward the potential of Africa to feed itself.
According to the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD) review, the region’s import estimates amount to 19.4 million tonnes for 2022, a record level driven by Nigeria (2.5 million tonnes), Côte d’Ivoire (1.9 million tons), and Senegal (1.5 million tons).
CIRAD is a French agricultural research and international cooperation organization working for the sustainable development of tropical and Mediterranean regions.