President Nana Akufo Addo has challenged farmers in the North to increase their cultivation of rice.
According to him, rice processing factories in the country are underutilized because of the low amount of rice available to be processed
“The factories are underutilized; the mills are underutilized because there is not enough input coming into the mills. So that is a challenge to all the farmers here to increase and double up your productivity and double up your work”.
The president who visited Avansah Rice Factory as part of a three day visit to the Northern Region assured farmers of a ready market to buy their produce.
“You have a ready market to use the opportunity to create more into this part of the country”
Figures from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture show current annual per capita consumption of rice of about 40kg per person is expected to hit 63 kg by next year.
Unfortunately, the rice industry is characterized by low production, low average yield and poor grain quality, resulting in heavy dependence on imports.
Crops Research Institute breeders have therefore set out to develop new high-yielding jasmine and conventional US long grain rice types in Ghana.
For the first time, six new varieties, four of which were wholly developed in Ghana, have been out-doored.
Experts say besides their pest and disease-tolerance as well as high-yielding features, the varieties are of high cooking and aromatic quality.
Initial consumer acceptability test has already been carried out in the Ashanti Region and Afife in the Volta Region.
All the varieties, cooked or otherwise, received approval from consumers in both locations.
The National Varietal Release Committee has also accepted all six varieties for release onto the local market.
Also the latest Oxford Business School report has revealed that only 34 percent of rice consumed in the country is produced locally, resulting in the importation of 680,000 tonnes annually.
By: Anita Arthur/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana