Jospong Group of Companies (JGC) has partnered with some major rice industry players in Thailand to grow an integrated rice farming project.
The reported companies will be providing technical and equipment support for the country’s entire rice value chain to produce rice for the local and export markets.
This comes after the decision of the government to reduce rice importation to upheave the economy from its current state.
The first batch of Thai companies is expected to arrive in Ghana in December.
The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta in his presentation in Parliament on Thursday, November 24, 2022, said as part of its efforts to promote exports, the government would expand the productive capacity in the real sector of the economy and actively encourage the consumption of locally produced rice, poultry, vegetable oil, fruit juices and ceramic tiles, among others.
Prior to this, a team from the Jospong Group, led by the Executive Chairman, Joseph Siaw Agyepong, went to Thailand to understudy the Thai rice sector in order to replicate their experiences and strategy in the country.
The Jospong Group further signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with major rice players for the establishment of seed development and research centre, rice mechanisation centres, bio-organic fertiliser production centres, and supply of farm implements and rice mills in the country.
The initiative was supported by the High Commissioner of Ghana to Malaysia with concurrent accreditation to Thailand, Florence Akonor.
Some top industry players the company visited included Thai Farmers Lifestyle and Learning Centre; rice equipment manufacturers such as Kubota, Satake and Deler Engineering Services, the Thai EXIM Bank, fertiliser manufacturers, the Institute of Food Research and Product Development, Kasetsart University.
The Thai EXIM Bank expressed its readiness to support JGC. Before the partnership, the Jospong Group had already begun its 100,000 acres of rice production, with land banks secured.
JGC intends to partner with the Ghana Rice Inter-professional Body (GRIB) and other local rice players to achieve this vision.
The project involves integrated rice farming methods ranging from seed development, paddy cultivation, milling, packaging and marketing.
The High Commissioner, Mrs Akonor in her remarks, said the rice project marked another bilateral cooperation between Thailand and Ghana for mutual benefits.
She expressed her appreciation to the Honorary Consul, Dr Sicha Singsomboon, and her team for their hard work in facilitating the visit.
Mrs Akonor stressed that the collaboration was fundamental in deepening cooperation to improve the economies of both countries, especially for rice production.
At a press conference held in Bangkok, Mr Agyepong called on the players within the Ghana rice value chain to collaborate for the development of the industry. He said Jospong Group was determined to make a huge impact in the venture for the country’s benefit.
Ghana imports more than 60 per cent of its rice needs, with dire economic consequences and between 2007 and 2015, the amount spent on imported rice rose from $151 million to $1.2 billion annually. Currently, imports of the commodity stand at $1.3 billion, with domestic consumption supplemented by imports primarily from Thailand, Vietnam and India.
The government believes that the negative perception of the rice sector can only be changed with a massive fuse by big sector players from the private sector.