The Senior Minister, Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, was on Wednesday, quoted as saying that Ghana imported a whopping GH¢1.3bn worth of rice into the country in 2016/2017.

He was angry that Ghana could use such amount in importing rice when it could have been used for other essential things.

“This is, indeed, sad because we can grow rice anywhere in Ghana.

“The amount could have been used rather on the importation of machinery and medications in the better interest of the nation,” he said.

The Senior Minister added “if you want to develop, produce food and do not import food”.

The Ghanaian Times shares the view of Mr Osafo-Maafo which we believe many Ghanaians would agree with.

There is no one who would disagree with the fact that Ghana is naturally blessed with all the resources to produce food bountifully and in a massive way.

It is, therefore difficult to understand why we have remained uncompetitive in rice production and continue to import such large quantities into the country.

We agree that rice as a staple food, is one of the food commodities whose demand is rapidly growing. Rice consumption has increased tremendously and nearly every home consumes rice.

It is, not surprising therefore that; the volumes are increasing year on year. What is rather baffling is that, no effort is being made to increase domestic production of rice.

Rice is by far, the second most important cereal crop after maize, yet the country is unable to produce it locally in large quantities to feed the nation.

This situation has created conditions for the unbridled importation of rice at the expense of production locally.

Ghana has the potential to produce rice everywhere in every part of the country and capable of producing yields that could feed the nation.

We find the current trend unhelpful for the country’s economy. It is therefore time for the country to implement policies that would encourage domestic productivity and consumption of local rice.

That would save the country huge sums of foreign exchange which can be used for the importation of machinery or set up factories to provide employment for the youth.

We urge our policy makers to institute measures that would encourage our farmers to produce more and to make importation of rice unattractive.

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