Consumption of local rice over the yuletide surged as dealers and farmers benefitted from increased demand from corporates, government agencies and individuals alike.
Commodity trading company Wienco Ghana – producer of Aduahene Rice, which sells about 1,000 metric tonnes of the commodity on a monthly basis – said demand for its rice peaked at about 4,000 metric tonnes in the festive season.
Dominic Duku, Marketing Manager of Wienco, told the B&FT that although consumption of local rice is gradually picking up, the demand as seen in the yuletide was remarkable and goes to show the hard work that the company has put into marketing the value of local rice.
Aduanehene Rice, Wienco’s lead rice brand, is milled by Global Agri-Development Company Ghana Limited (GADCO) in Sogakope, a subsidiary of Wienco. GADCO owns and operates a fully-irrigated commercial rice farm, producing about 6,000 acres of Aduanehene Rice annually.
The GADCO factory also mills COPA jasmine long-grain rice, which is sourced from an out-grower scheme in Asutware, Aveyime and Weta.
Apart from Wienco, other rice farmers and dealers mostly in the Volta Region spoke of the huge demand they had to contend with during the yuletide – arguing that given the right support local rice producers can easily meet local demand for the commodity.
Mr. Duku said despite the value in production and consumption of local rice, there are segments of the market that still prefer imported rice – owing to a variety of reasons – whose importation over the years has put a strain on the country’s import bill.
The local rice industry, on the other hand, is characterised by low production, low average yield and poor grain quality, resulting in heavy dependence on imports.
There is a need to increase production to meet increasing consumer demand for local rice in the face of high rice consumption in the country, which according to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture is expected to hit 63 kg by the end of this year.
Rice consumption in Ghana
Ghana imported some 689,000 metric tonnes of rice in 2016, and that cost approximately $300 million, according to an official of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
An Oxford Business School report published last year revealed that only 34 percent of rice consumed in the country is produced locally, resulting in the importation of about 700,000 tonnes annually.
Even though the country’s domestic production has increased by 12 percent over the 2010-15 period, according to the report, domestic consumption increased by double that rate over the same time frame.
As a result, Ghana imports between US$300 million and US$500 million of rice annually. The report further states that, between 1999 and 2008, rice consumption grew from 17.5 kg to 38 kg per capita and is expected to reach 63 kg per capita by 2018.
With population growth, urbanisation and shifting consumer preferences, demand for rice is expected to continue expanding in the coming years.