The Ghana Rice Inter-Professional Body (GRIB) has expressed strong skepticism about government’s projection that the nation would attain rice self-sufficiency by 2023. GRIB is of the conviction that, the current state of rice production – from seed planting to the final product – is not one that supports the attainment of government’s projection.
According to GRIB, since the day government, through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), announced that the nation would be self-sufficient in rice in the next two years, they have intentionally monitored activities toward attaining the target, but its members are yet to be convinced that the target is attainable.
President of GRIB, Nana Kwabena Adjei Ayeh II, in an interview with the B&FT, said there are a plethora of challenges members have been faced with over the years and little or no improvement have been realised.
He said, the availability of good seeds, capital, mechanized systems of farming, agronomic inputs, land development are among the challenges farmers continue to face with no end in sight.
He told the paper that, if there is a conscious effort from government to give the sector some special attention and to address their numerous challenges, the target can be achieved in six to seven years.
“When it comes to self-sufficiency in terms of rice, the country is not there yet. There are some pressing things to be done to get there. From what we are seeing as rice farmers, we are not sure about the country being self-sufficient in 2023.
We are not doubting the agric ministry because they have eyes nationwide, so they know something we do not know but as a farmer and with the concerns of my peers, for 2023, let us wait and see. From our point of view, the nation can attain rice self-sufficiency in 6-7years time if the sector is supported with a number of imputs and given the needed attention.”
Last year, Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, said rice production had jumped from 138,000 metric tonnes in 2016 to 665,000 in 2019. He then projected that by 2023, the country would have reached self-sufficiency with about 29,000 metric tonnes as surplus to spare. “With all these, within two years, the country would be self-sufficient in rice production so there will be no need for us to spend the millions of dollars a year to import rice.”
But the President of GRIB, Nana Kwabena Adjei Ayeh says farmers on the ground are yet to feel the impact of some of the government initiatives at promoting rice cultivation and production. He made this known at the annual general meeting of GRIB. Members from all 16 regions of the country were present to share ideas and also elect national executives to steer the affairs of the body.
The new elected executives are Nana Adjei Ayeh II – President (Central Region); Denis Obeng – Vice President (Eastern Region); David Yaw Mensah – Financial Secretary (Bono East); Mohammed Bukari (Northern Region), and Sylvia Tamakloe (Ashanti Region) are two association members without portfolio.