Japan has shown commitment to collaborate with Ghana to promote the food value chain in the country with emphasis on increasing the production and processing high quality rice.
At a seminar for stakeholders on Thursday, Mr Imoro Amoro, the President of the Ghana Rice Inter-Professional Body (GRIB) said the rice value chain in the country faced a number of challenges and that the collaborative effort was timely.
He said the rice value chain faced challenges with securing concessionary finance for the industry and experienced difficulties in accessing commercial loans, which made it difficult for the cost of production to become competitive with farmers in Thailand and Vietnam.
Mr Amoro said the lack of certified rice seeds for Ghanaian farmers also made it difficult for farmers and this is besides the influx of imported rice.
He said the inadequate and inconsistent Public-Private Partnerships initiatives towards the convergence of private value chain also hindered the promotion of quality production.
He said the inability of farmers to adopt appropriate technologies into the rice value chain was another disturbing factor and called on the youth to take advantage and champion the incorporation of Information Communication Technology in the sector.
Mr Tomokazu Ohtani, Mizuho Information and Research Institute Incorporation, said a research shows that interfusion of stones, dark rice, among others were some of the reasons the local rice do not meet the quality it demands.
He said to improve the quality of rice by small scale manufacturers and more importantly in the destoning process there was the need for machines to be made available for farmers as the continouss breakdown was affecting their yield.
He said for this reason the JICA project was introducing a support system initiative to ensure high quality local rice and promote high value-added domestic rice that would be right for the market.
“This will promote the mutually beneficial development of agricultural sector for both Africa and Japan through utilizing capable technologies to advance high-value added agricultural products,” he said.
Professor George Oduro Nkansah, the Director of the Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology at the University of Ghana, said the country needed to develop technologies to suit the Japanese technology of rice production.
He said: “If we are able to cooperate with them or adopt their technologies, it will go a long way to help us in our rice industry as well as the vegetable industry.
“New things come up always and hence we need to update our technologies so we can upscale the quality of our rice,” Prof. Nkansah said.
The seminar, attended by Small to Medium Enterprises was aimed at linking investors in both countries to ensure the incorporation of new technologies in the rice industry of Ghana.
New products and technologies for improved rice production and cultivation was also introduced at the seminar.