Ghana spent an estimated total of GH6.874 billion on the importation of rice from 2017 to 2020.
In addition, the country also imported the following food products from 2017 to 2020: They include Fish – GHc3.993 billion, Chicken (processed) GHc1.881 billion, Meat – GHc487 million, Vegetables GHc281 and Poultry GHc184 million.
Mr Allan Kyeremanten, Minister for Trade and Industry made the disclosure when he appeared before Parliament to respond to a question by Mr Murtala Muhammed Ibrahim, Member of Parliament (MP) for Tamale Central how much the state spent on the importation of rice and other foodstuffs into the country in the past four years.
Mr Kyeremanten also acknowledge from the figures provided that the country was spending close to US$1 billion on the importation of food items.
Responding to a question whether the government has lifted a ban on small rice importers, Mr Kyeremanten stated that rice was a staple food in the country and one had to maintain a delicate balance between the quantity of rice produced locally at any point in time and what was important was to ensure that there were no serious shortages.
He said the Ministry of Trade and Industry, and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture continue to monitor the production of rice, and at the appropriate time when the volumes of local rice increase significantly the government would be able to restrict the importation of rice.
Mr Kyeremanten also maintained that the government has not lifted any ban imposed on the small rice importers but the Ministry has a management policy to ensure that there were no shortages in the system.
He noted that as and when there is significant local rice production in the country the Ministry would be able to determine at that point what decision to take in respect of the ban.