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The first CARD working week was held in Accra, Ghana in April 2019

The rice sector of Ghana is currently undergoing a revolution in terms of awareness and interventions/investments, thanks to the current administration’s program of Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ). Under this program rice is one of the major crops been targeted in order to become self-sufficient thereby curtailing imports and subsequently freeing the enormous resources which hitherto was committed to rice importation. With the second phase of CARD starting in 2019 up to 2030 and based on her achievements in CARD phase-1, Ghana once again expressed interest to continue to be a member country of CARD, in order to consolidate on the achievements made during the first phase.

 

IMG 20190418 131516v2

 Photo: Participants for the Working Week at Aburi

 

With the support from JICA through the CARD initiative, John Kuffuor foundation and Intervalle Geneva, Ghana is set to formulate a new NRDS to further develop the rice sector. Therefore, a stakeholder’s working week was organized to carry out the formulation of the NRDS. Declaring the working week open the Director of Crop Services of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) who represented the Minister of Agriculture, conveyed the goodwill message of the minister and emphasized that rice is one of the flagship crops of the present government which is very dear to the Ministry and the Honorable Minister because of the huge resources expended in importing rice into the country. He conveyed the Minister’s resolve to attaining rice self-sufficiency by 2024, as rice is a major crop the government is focussing on in the Planting for Food and Job (PFJ) program.

The working week was conducted in the conference hall of Little Acre Hotel Aburi near Accra between 15 April and 18 April 2019. The task force members (24) who are experts in the various segments of the rice value chain were drawn from the public sector, research institutes, universities, private sector, and farmer’s union and with the participation of some development partners. In an overview of the rice sector of Ghana presented by the rice desk officer of Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), the current status and challenges of the sector were outlined with vision/goals for the future.

Robust brainstorming was held during the 4 days of the working week in the below thematic areas. i) seed system, ii) fertilizer marketing and distribution strategy, iii) community mobilization, farmer-based organization and credit management,  iv) irrigation and water control investment strategy, v) equipment access and maintenance strategy, vi) research and technology dissemination strategy, and vii) harvesting, post-harvest and marketing strategy. In discussing the thematic areas, the current issues and challenges in the rice sector were analysed. Possible pathways on how to mitigate the challenges and addressing the gaps were presented. Concept notes for each of the pathways will be developed in future working weeks to address these gaps.

Key outputs/Results

Review of NRDS-1 was carried out. The review showed that achieving self-sufficiency in rice production by 2018 was not realized. Gaps were identified along the value chain. The gaps include quality seeds, mechanization, poor infrastructures, and human capital development. The TF members, therefore, agreed to formulate NRDS-2 to address the identified gaps, through the above identified thematic areas, using the RICE (Resilience, Industrialization, Competitiveness, and Empowerment) approach of CARD phase 2

Production targets (mid-term and final) were set. The TF members set 2024 as the year to achieve self-sufficiency in rice production with the below figures.

Year

Area

(‘000ha)

Yield

(Mt/ha)

Production

(‘000Mt)

Milled rice

(‘000Mt)

Demand

(‘000Mt)

Deficit/surplus

(‘000Mt)

2018

(baseline)

260

2.9

754

452

1,158

(706)

2024

(Self-sufficiency)

488

5.0

2,438

1,585

1,544

41

2030

785

5.5

4,319

2,807

2,240

456

A new initiative to drive self-sufficiency in rice production were listed as follows;

1.   Planting for Food and Jobs Campaign (component of rice)

2.   Savanna Agricultural Productivity Improvement Project (SAPIP)

3.   Market based Agriculture by Small holders and Private Sector Linkages

4.   Sustainable Development of Rainfed Lowland Rice Projection Project II

5.   Competitive African Rice Initiative I

6.   Competitive African Rice Initiative II

7.   Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project

8.   Public-Private Partnership for Competitive Rice Value Chain Improvement Project

9.   Green Innovation Centre 

 

Upon formulation, the NRDS will be circulated among CARD steering committee members and development partners for inputs, after which a validation workshop will be organized among wider stakeholders

The working week received full commitment/participation of all participants because of the conducive atmosphere provided in Little Acre Hotel in Aburi. Apart from funding by JICA and John Kufuor foundation, Intervalle Geneva also made significant contributions towards the success of the working week.