Agriculture Minister, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto

The Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto says Ghana is on course to becoming rice sufficient by 2023.

According to him, Ghana produced 950,000 metric tonnes of rice in 2020 and will produce 1.2 million tonnes of rice in 2023.

Dr Afriyie Akoto emphasised that there is no cause for alarm because Ghana has enough to feed the country.

However, he indicated that demand for rice is growing rapidly at 5% per annum which will require production to leapfrog it.

“Two years ago I told this country that by 2023 Ghana should be producing 1.2 million metric tonnes of rice which will meet our domestic demand and we’re very much on course. Last year, we were able to reach 950,000 metric tonnes. This year we’re targeting 1.1 million and we know that by 2023 we’ll meet the target of 1.2 million. Demand for rice is growing rapidly at 5%per annum so we have to leapfrog in terms of the growth of production,” he said.

Speaking to Joy Business on the sidelines after the presentation of the ultimate cash prize of ¢570,000 to the 2020 National Best Farmer, Solomon Kusi, the Minister also assured that prices of maize will go down in the next three months.

According to him, the increase in the price of maize is a transitory problem and is expected to go down following the harvest.

“The issue of price is a structural problem. During this time of the year, maize prices are high because stocks are at their lowest, this is when farmers start planting.

“In the next three to four months, with the harvest of maize coming on the market, prices will go down. This is only a transitory problem but generally, we see that maize production has doubled,” he stated.

Managing Director of ADB, John Kofi Mensah disclosed that his outfit has disbursed ¢30 million to support pineapple farmers to help in the full realization of the Ekumfi Juice Factory, under the One District One Factory initiative.

“For the lame man farmer, we have institutionalized the ‘Outgrower Financing Scheme’. For example, if you take the Ekumfi factory that the President [Akufo-Addo] commissioned, the pineapple juice is the fastest growing so we decided to finance pineapple production. Hence, we have approved and disbursed ¢30 million for farmers in that zone,” he disclosed.

Solomon Kusi, National Best Farmer for 2020 revealed that he will use part of the money to acquire and install a Cocoa Drying House and employ more people.

“As a major producer, I prayed and God revealed to me that we can build a drying house so that we can still dry cocoa during the rainy season using the same four to five days method.

We use two sources of nature to dry cocoa; the sun and wind. With the drying house we’re building, we will still use both natural methods we’re used to,” he revealed.

He however called on government to fix the road networks to farming communities.

“Road networks to the farming communities are bad. During the rainy season, some of the communities are not able to access the markets because of the bad roads. We’re pleading with government to expand the roads connecting to farming communities.”