The Commodity Brokers Association of Ghana (CBAG) has proposed a 20 percent quota on rice imports into Ghana.
President of the Association, Mr. Yaw Ohemeng Kyei, said it is unfortunate that the Ghana Rice Development Strategy (G-NRD) projects aimed at ending rice importation by 2023 has not been successful.
According to him, government is not doing enough to progressively reduce the importation of rice.
“The annual per capita rice consumption of 3.5 percent per annum is even greater than 2.5 percent per annum growth in population. That is a goldmine we can explore especially now that AfCFTA has commenced,” he stated.
He is convinced that Ghana can produce 80 percent of the approximately 1,500,000 metric tons of rice consumed in the country annually.
According to a B&FT report, Mr Kyei made the remarks while commenting on the listing of rice on the Ghana’s Commodity Exchange.
According to the report, he also observed hat Ghana's rice production for 2008 was 181, 000 metric tons while import was 395,000 metric tons.
This, according to him, means that local production more than doubled in 2013 to 393,000 metric tons, however import increased to 638,000 metric tons.
In 2020, rice production was 940,000 metric tons and looking at the rate of growth in rice production, he said if total consumption of rice is around 1,500, 000 metric tons then Ghana can place quota of 20 percent quota on imported rice in order to strengthen and grow local rice production and prepare for export.
"Nigeria banned importation of rice through its land borders at the time it had not listed rice on the Nigeria Commodity Exchange, however, Ghana has listed rice on its Commodity Exchange and that means rice in Ghana has been graded, quality assured and price determined scientifically."
"If these conditions are right and rice traded can be compared with any international rice, and our sufficiency rate is 80 percent, what is government waiting for, he quizzed.
He disclosed that the Agric Ministry in 2020 promised to ban importation of rice in 2 years. This move, he said, is not prudent. However, he reiterated that the government must rather impose a quota starting from this year, 2021, of 20 percent, on imported rice, then 10 percent quota in 2022 before an outright ban in 2023.
A quota of 20 percent on imported rice, according to Mr. Ohemeng Kyei, will translate to increase employment of over 200,000 people in the local rice value chain, reduction in inflation to at least 1 basis point due to economies of scale, correction of balance of payment challenged and inflows of foreign exchange as rice may be exported due to AfCFTA.