GHANA – Jospong Group of Companies, a diversified holding company has challenged Ghana to ban rice importation and become self-sufficient in production, All Africa reports.
Dr. Joseph Siaw Adjepong, the Chairman of the Jospong Group of Companies made the plea while speaking at a two-day Ghana Food Security Conference 2023 themed “Enhancing food security: The role of Ghanaian scientists” at Gomoa Fetteh in the Central Region.
The appeal comes after the government of Korea launched a US$27 million rice development project to boost rice production and aid Ghana’s quest to achieve national food security.
According to Dr Adjepong, Baning imports as a strategy to increase local production has been used by Nigeria which Ghana can learn from the experience and become self-sufficient in rice.
“If Nigeria has done it, we can do it, let’s not reinvent the wheel, let’s copy from them,” he appealed
He revealed that Nigeria, after banning the importation of rice, has made remarkable progress in rice production during the previous decade, surpassing Egypt with a yearly production of 5.8 million tonnes.
Rice is the second most consumed cereal after maize in Ghana. Additionally, rice is fast emerging as a strategic cash crop and an economic tool for the Ghanaian population even though the country still imports more than 60% of its local needs.
Recently, the government of Ghana committed to boosting its local rice production in a bid to offset the US$ 1.3 billion financial burden used to import the commodity annually.
Dr. Adjepong, therefore, predicted that with the advent of the Jospong Group Rice Project, the importation of rice into the country would be minimized if not stopped completely.
“Where we (JG) see a problem we confront it and solve it and this project that we have begun, we predict that the rice importation must stop,” he vowed.
He encouraged the stakeholders particularly the rice farmers and scientists not to despair that there were no adequate policies to support the initiative but rather be hopeful that when “fruits begin to yield” policies would change to favor them.
In March this year, Jospong Group entered a deal with 10 Thai rice industry companies to develop an integrated rice farming scheme in a bid to increase rice production in the West African country.
According to the agreement, as a leader in rice production, Thailand could support Ghana in its efforts to close its rice consumption demand gap and also produce in excess to export to countries within the West African sub-region.
He further challenged the government to choose hope over the fear that if it bans the importation of rice, Ghanaians will go hungry but rather be hopeful that the Ghanaian farmer will be challenged and empowered to produce quality rice for the country.