Ghana To Increase Rice Production

Government is poised to produce 20,000 metric tonnes of �highest grade� quality rice by 2012 to reduce rice importation. To this end, interventions such as providing the necessary machinery and promotion of Private Public Partnership policy have been intensified to enable Ghana to increase rice production to meet the target. Mr Fifi Kwetey, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning announced this during a visit to the Fievie Rice Project in the Volta Region on Wednesday. The project is a 30 years lease of 1000 hectares farm land granted to Global Agri-Development Company to develop rice farm. GADCO started operations in January and had so far developed and planted 700 acres and poised to harvest 1500 metric tonnes of rice by the end of July. The project is a partnership agreement with the local community and the South Tongu District to undertake rice production to create employment to the people. Ghana currently spends about 450 million dollars annually on rice importation to augment local demand. The country�s self-sufficient in the rice production stands at about 30 per cent, leaving a short fall of 70 per cent. Mr Kwetey said government would encourage the Millennium Development Authorities and the beneficiary assemblies to take advantage of the opportunity to engage the private sector in developing infrastructural projects and services. He used the occasion to announce Cabinet approval of the Private Public Partnership Policy. Mr Daniel Amelorku, District Chief Executive said the project was the beginning of more development initiatives in the district to reduce unemployment. He said the rice project would be extended within fours years to 4000 hectares to make the district the highest producer of rice in West Africa.