ADB to support local rice farmers to alleviate financial challenges

The Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) has said that it will replicate its investment model in the poultry industry for rice production to reduce financial challenges in the sector.

ADB earlier announced a GHC500 million loan facility to help poultry farmers from six regions in Ghana.

The bank said this forms part of its efforts to help strengthen Ghana’s livestock sector to reduce the importation of chicken and make Ghana’s poultry industry competitive.

Even though ADB is yet to announce the exact amount it will make available for rice farmers, the Managing Director of ADB, Dr John Kofi Mensah, said investment in the rice sector will be more than what has been earmarked for poultry due to the multiple processes involved in rice production.

“In the rice value chain, Ghana has the capacity to be self-sufficient in rice production. The value chain has three key segments: the production, that is the growing of the rice. We have the milling and then the marketing. Marketing covers those who import, and we are importing a whole lot of rice as I mentioned. The problem with rice production is the gap between the primary production of rice and the milling.”

Dr Mensah added that he is hopeful this model will make importers also invest in local rice production if the price is reduced; and the risk of defaulting in payment is minimized.

“Those who deal in importation of rice have strong balance sheets, meaning they have the funding. But when it comes to millers, they are underfunded. When there is under-funding at the milling stage, it means that producers of rice might run into the risk of making losses. Production of paddy rice requires some time dimension in terms of the milling. Once time is going moisture content can become a problem and it will affect the quality of the final product, which is the rice. So ADB with this module is going to finance the gap that exists between the growers of rice production and the milling,” he said.

In 2019, the inability of millers to mill locally produced rice led to late harvest.

Earlier this year, some rice farmers called on the government to build the capacity of players in the local rice value chain to boost production as Ghana risks a shortage of some agric produce particularly rice by the latter part of this year and into 2021.

Rice production in Ghana

Rice is one of the four main cereals produced and consumed in Ghana alongside maize, millet, and sorghum

Ghana’s current milling capacity is at 400,000 metric tonnes. The country also imports over 331 million dollars of rice annually.

Ghana has over 125,000 hectares of land under rice cultivation, but rice is imported to augment local production (of milled rice) from Pakistan, Korea, India, Thailand, Japan, China, Vietnam, and the United States because local rice cultivation does not meet local demand.

Source: www.pulse.ng

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