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Business News of Wednesday, 12 January 2022

Source: thebftonline.com

New National Rice Coordinating Committee urged to reduce rice imports

The committee will also oversee the preparation of the Rice Sector Development Policy The committee will also oversee the preparation of the Rice Sector Development Policy

The Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture in charge of Annual Crops, Yaw Frimpong Addo, has charged the newly inaugurated National Rice Coordinating Committee (NRCC) to make the country self-sufficient in rice production.

While assuring them of government support, he tasked the committee with finding innovative solutions to reduce the amount spent by the country on importing rice – a grain that can be grown in all parts of the country.

Mr. Frimpong Addo, who inaugurated the committee, emphasized that government will continue supporting the rice sector with necessary tools to ensure productivity enhancement and quality improvements – such as installation of state-of-the-art processing facilities and efficient domestic marketing systems. “These call for a holistic approach and strenuous efforts by all stakeholders to work tirelessly on achieving the intended target.”

The National Rice Coordinating Committee and Technical sub-Committee of the NRCC were inaugurated by the Deputy Minister in Accra to oversee policy and technical issues, respectively, when it comes to the rice sector.

The policy sub-committee will be responsible for giving policy direction with respect to emerging technical issues which require executive interventions, while the technical sub-committee will be responsible for all rice development initiatives in-country.

The NRCC has 14 members and is chaired by the Deputy Minister for Agriculture. Other members on the committee include the Chief Director of Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA); some directors at the ministry; Chief Executive of the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority; and the Director of Agricultural Engineering Services Directorate. The rest are representatives of the Ministries of Finance, Trade and Industry; Local Government; the Ghana Rice Inter-professional Body (GRIB); and John A. Kufuor Foundation.

Then there is the 23-member technical sub-committee, which is chaired by the Director of Crop Services at MOFA. Other members include representatives from various directorates of MOFA, Ghana Standards Authority, Food and Drugs Authority, Ghana Investment Promotion Council, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, GRIB, National Seed Traders Association, Hopeline Institute, among others.

“The respective committee members have a duty to serve, and are therefore charged to work assiduously on realizing the goal of developing and implementing a national rice strategy that will enable Ghana to achieve the goal of self-sufficiency by 2024,” the deputy minister said.

The committee’s tasks include harmonizing the development and implementation of rice research and development programmes and projects nationwide, to improve their management.

It must also work toward developing common strategies that address challenges and explore opportunities along the rice value chain. The committee will also oversee the preparation of the Rice Sector Development Policy. It will additionally provide guidance for the implementation of the National Rice Development Strategy (NRDS) and other rice-related programmes and projects.

The committee will, finally, help set up an up-to-date rice database and collaborate with sub-regional, regional and international organizations in rice sector development.

Background

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), with support from the Coalition of African Rice Development (CARD), formulated the National Rice Development Strategy (NRDS) with the goal of doubling domestic rice production within a ten-year period (2008-2018).

Ghana was able to attain the goal of doubling its domestic rice production in line with the NRDS during the first phase of CARD – largely by area expansion rather than productivity. The second phase of CARD (2019–2030) has a goal of doubling domestic rice production for all CARD member countries, in line with the RICE (Resilience; Industrialisation; Competitiveness; Empowerment) approach.

The Ghana NRDS II has proposed attaining self-sufficiency in rice production by 2024, taking into consideration the comparative production capacities and growth of consumption in-country. The committee’s establishment is part of ongoing efforts to meet the goal of making Ghana self-sufficient in rice production.