Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture (in charge of Crops), Mr. Yaw Addo Frimpong, has called on Thai rice value chain players to come and invest in Ghana.
The deputy minister made the appeal at the Thailand-Ghana Business Conference on Sunday, March 19, 2023, which brought together captains of Thailand rice industry.
The Ghanaian delegation to Thailand was led by the Executive Chairman of the Jospong Group of Companies (JGC), Dr. Joseph Siaw Agyepong, and included experts and researchers in various fields drawn from the University of Ghana, Legon, University of Cape Coast, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research – Crop Research Institute (CSIR-CRI).
Others included in the delegation were the Ghana Rice Farmers Association, the Competitive African Rice Platform, traditional rulers, metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs) and private entrepreneurs with the focus on rice, fertiliser, maize, cassava and poultry.
According to the deputy agriculture minister, as a leader in rice production, Thailand can 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.
Ghana’s consumption demand for rice is between 1.2 million and 1.4 million metric tonnes per annum while government, together with the small-scale rice farmers, is only able to do 600,000 metric tonnes.
The business forum was a continuation of the rice project that was started some five (5) months ago and initiated through the instrumentality of the Executive Chairman of the JGC, Dr. Siaw Agyepong.
It will be recalled that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo tasked the Ministry of Agriculture and all in the private sector to go at any length to ensure self-sufficiency of rice in the country.
Mr. Addo Frimpong expressed excitement at the level of enthusiasm shown in the Ghana-Thailand rice project by stakeholders in Thailand.
With such a large delegation comprising private sector actors, agronomists, MMDCEs and crop researchers, we believe the delegation might have gained a lot from one of the world’s largest rice producers and would help reduce the huge import bill for rice to meet domestic demand.
Ghana imports rice primarily from Vietnam (US$282M), Thailand (US$45.5M), India (US$27.3M), Pakistan (US$20.6M), and China (US$5.95M). The country spent an estimated total of GH₵6.874billion on the importation of rice from 2017 to 2020.