Ghana and Japan have signed an agreement for two grant projects, totalling 766 million yen for rice production and scholarship for young administrative government officials.
Of the amount, 471 million yen would go into the Project for the Enhancement of Rice Seeds Production Capacity while 295 million yen is to be injected in the Project for Human Resource Development Scholarship.
The Japanese Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Mr Mochizuki Hisanobu and Ghana’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Mr Kwaku Ampratwum-Sarpong, signed the documents on Monday.
This was when the Prime Minister of Japan, Mr Kishida Fumio, visited President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as part of his one day visit to the country.
Mr Kishida who is the second prime minister to visit Ghana after former Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro did 17 years ago(2006), was in the country to solidify Japan’s bilateral relations with Ghana as part of his visit to Africa.
A statement issued by the Japanese Embassy said the rice project was to help get supply of rice due to increase in its consumption in Ghana given that the annual consumption reached approximately one million tonnes in 2017 and rice is the country’s second staple food after maize.
It said despite the increasing demand for domestically produced rice, its annual production is currently limited to approximately 400,000 tonnes which leads the country to heavily depend on imported rice.
It said the inadequate removal of impurities and a large amount of crushed rice had been pointed out as a major issue and quality improvement of domestically produced rice could be ignored so that it could compete with imported rice.
“This cooperation aims to increase the production volume and improve the quality of certified seeds by improving equipment necessary for seed production in four irrigation districts under the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority, thereby contributing to enhancing the country’s industrial base, including agriculture,” it said.
For the Project for Human Resource Development Scholarship, the statement said Ghana faced the greatest challenge to improve its administrative capacity and institution building.
It said the cooperation aimed to solve development issues in Ghana by providing support for young administrative officials who are expected to play an active role in the core of the Ghanaian Government by encouraging them to obtain master’s or doctoral degrees at graduate schools in Japan.
“This cooperation is also prepared to contribute to enhancement of bilateral relations by establishing people-to-people networks,” it said.
It said at the 8th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 8), held in August 2022, Japan announced plans to train 4,600 individuals to address the food crisis and support sustainable agricultural production in Africa, as well as to build institutions and strengthen governance in the judicial and administrative sectors.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR