Dr Owusu Afriyie-Akoto, Minister of Food and Agriculture, has disclosed that Ghana spends almost over a billion dollars to import rice into the country annually since 2015.
The figure is an understatement because these are only coming from official sources in Tema and Takoradi.
There are other routes where rice is smuggled into that country and figures from these places are unknown.
Perhaps, these figures are what informed some Ghanaians, especially Citi FM, with its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Samuel Atta-Mensah, appointing himself as campaigner for the consumption of locally-produced rice in the country.
What the media house and its CEO, is doing and which has been widely accepted by Ghanaians, is to protect local farmers and to ensure that we eat only what is produce in this country and in the process save scarce foreign reserve from depletion.
No serious country toys with its self-sufficiency in food production and the only way to achieve that, is when locals are encouraged to eat what they grow and grow what they eat.
The arguments being advanced by many people, whether it can be backed with facts is that, the local rice is more expensive than the imported rice.
This newspaper is of the considered view that, even if that is the case, the government can reduce the incentive to buy foreign rice by Ghanaians by subsidizing the locally produced rice, so that it will be significantly lower in price than foreign rice.
For a very long time, we have had discussions on promoting locally produced goods, the idea, has not been successful because, it has never been back by legislation, as well as the political will to push the idea.
The government is the biggest consumer and so for this campaign to be sustained and be successful, a directive should be issued to every ministry, department or agency that is going to give rice to its staff or share by way of hamper, to patronize local rice and let’s see next year, if the Cedi, will not appreciate against the dollar.
This is a clarion call on Ghanaians to eat Ghanaian grown rice, as they are tasty, nutritious and healthy.