Unlocking Ghana’s Hidden Gold: The Rice Revolution You Won’t Believe!

Sep 13, 2023 | Market Insights & Trends | 0 comments

In Ghana, rice has grown in importance as a staple food, presenting local farmers with significant market opportunities. However, challenges in cultivation techniques and support systems hinder optimal yields. Despite these challenges, there’s a promising light on the horizon.

Importance of rice providing a lucrative opportunity

Rice in Ghana is more than just a staple food. It represents the nation’s agricultural potential and the challenges that come with it. In recent years, rice has become the second most important staple food in Ghana after maize. The rapid rise in consumption, which has outpaced production, has positioned Ghana’s local farmers to capitalise on a  600 million USD market. However, local farmers’ techniques and knowledge of rice cultivation are quite lacking. There is also a challenge with support systems such as extension services. Specifically, these services often suffer from inadequate financial resources, insufficient training for extension agents, and a lack of timely access to updated agricultural information. This translates into low yields, which really means low returns for farmers.

The Challenges in Rice Production

In Ghana, the average yield per acre of land is 2.5 tons/hectare, a significant contrast to the achievable yield based on on-farm trials which is 6–8 tons/hectare. Compare this to the average yield of rice (seeds) per hectare in some countries like Australia and in Egypt, where the yield can increase to an impressive 10 – 12 tons or more per hectare. (1 ton = 1000 kg = 2200 lbs. and 1 hectare = 2.47 acres = 10,000 square meters).

This shows the real potential. Therefore, the question is what goes wrong today?

Farmers often struggle with outdated rice cultivation methods, learned from their ancestors and based on their gut feeling. They haven’t been exposed to new scientific learnings. The support they need, especially from extension services, is limited by insufficient funds, undertrained agents, and outdated agricultural information. This results in reduced yields and, consequently, reduced profits.

Factors Impacting Production

Several factors contribute to the difference in yields:

  • Seed Varieties and Adoption: Modern seed varieties cover 58% of the rice cultivation area in Ghana. However, traditional varieties remain popular, especially in the north. The rising demand for rice indicates the need to adopt modern varieties that promise higher yields.
  • Soil Health and Management: Soil health is vital for rice production. While fertilisers are commonly used, the quantity often falls short of recommended levels. Sustainable practices need to be adopted for better yields. This will have to start with soil testing. You should not apply fertiliser, before you have measured the soil’s nutrients levels.
  • Harvesting, Storage, and Quality: Proper harvesting at the right moisture level and correct storage is essential. Proper storage protects the rice from pests and maintains its quality. This can significantly reduce post-harvest losses.

Solutions and Innovations

Solutions are required to address these challenges, below we describe a few possible ones, but this list is complete:

  • Contract Farming and Market Assurance: One promising approach to address these challenges is the model of Contract Farming. As is mentioned in the GIZ article: “This model assures farmers of a market even before sowing and guarantees rice millers raw material supplies early in the planning stage.” This not only provides farmers with a guaranteed market but also access to seeds, fertilisers, and finance.
  • Education and knowledge sharing: We believe by sharing knowledge and experiences on best practices farmers will gain a lot. They might have to be convinced at first, showing the results of a successful farmer can be helpful. Therefore, we see an important role for AgChampions.
  • Stronger together, the role of farmer groups: It is hard to fight the reality on your own. A group of smallholder farmers can do a lot more together. Therefore we support unions and cooperatives.
  • The Role of Technology: Increasingly new technological solutions will become available for smallholder farmers. We at Cropslist aim to transform rice production in Ghana. Collaborating with knowledge institutions, Cropslist seeks to remove value chain inefficiencies, share insights and experiences to boost rice productivity. The platform’s digital capabilities promise to build capacity and knowledge, catering to farmers’ needs.

Conclusion and the Way Forward

The challenges in Ghana’s rice production are evident, but they’re solvable. With the right blend of knowledge application, technology, and collaboration, there’s hope for a brighter future in rice farming in Ghana.

For all stakeholders in the Ghana Rice Value chain, especially Farmer Groups, the journey of transformation awaits. Let’s come together, leverage technology, and ensure a prosperous future for rice farming in Ghana. Feel free to contact us through our social media channels or through the contact form on our website.

Resources used:

  1. GIZ (2018), Ghana: Making local rice production competitive. Link
  2. Ragasa, C., Dankyi, A., Acheampong, P., Wiredu, A., Chapo-To, A., Asamoah, M., & Tripp, R. (2013). Patterns of Adoption of Improved Rice Technologies in Ghana. Link
  3. Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA). Rice Production: A Priority to Ghana. Link
  4. Matilda N. Bissah, Daniel Ashie Kotey, Pangirayi Tongoona, Kenneth Fafa Egbadzor, Vern Gracen, Eric Y. Danquah (2022). Factors influencing rice production in the south-eastern belt of Ghana, Heliyon, Volume 8, Issue 12, 2022, e12404, ISSN 2405-8440, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2022.e12404. Link


(Note: This article is a comprehensive synthesis of information from the provided sources, enriched with our personal experiences)


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