September 19, 2020

#CitiBusinessFestival: Intensify efforts to reduce food imports post COVID – RMG urges Gov’t

Government has been urged to quicken efforts to drastically reduce the amount of food and other consumables imported into the country after the novel Coronavirus pandemic is dealt with.

Ghana’s food import bill had been rising steadily in the past, reaching a staggering amount of 35 billion dollars around 2018, and it is projected to move to 110 billion dollars by 2025.

But according to the government, the success of its flagship program, the Planting for Food and Jobs, is helping turn things around.

Speaking as part of the on-air series of the Citi Business Festival on the Citi Breakfast Show, the Commercial Manager of RMG Ghana, Martin Tettey Nartey  said more needs to be done.

“Ghana is importing as much as 2.4 billion dollars worth of food every year and we are giving this 2.4 billion dollars to a farmer elsewhere. So, imagine if Ghanaian farmers start taking part and enjoying from a chunk of this 2.4 billion, definitely our livelihood would actually improve. In the year 2018, Ghana imported 425 million US dollars of rice and this is rice coming from Pakistan, Korea, India, Thailand, Japan, Vietnam, USA. Yet we have that land that we can  do such production to start substituting the import we are bringing to the country in terms of food. So, I think the opportunities are clear,” he said.

He also bemoaned the lack of improved agricultural productivity technologies and mechanization to enhance yields in Ghana.

“First and foremost it’s  the mechanization for service provision. If we start mechanizing that, then we will reduce the drudgery on farmers. Agriculture, then no more becomes a difficult venture because there are mechanisms in mechanization. There will be machines, there will be tractors that will be helping you,” he said.

“We are adopting the new technology, but I think we are not adopting it fast enough. And the reason why the rest of the world, which is doing about 50% and we are doing lesser is because they have adopted improved technology, improved mechanization and improved processing, and that is why they are getting better yield than we do,” he added.

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Source: Business