Ghana imported $3.9bn worth of rice from 2010-2019 – Sam Jonah

Ghana spent close to $4 billion on rice imports from 2010 to 2019, Sir Sam Jonah has revealed.

Ghana spent $3.9bn on rice imports in 9 years.

In a speech to Rotarians in Accra titled ‘Down the up escalator – Reflections on Ghana’s future by a senior citizen’, the executive chairman of Jonah Capital, an equity fund based in Johannesburg, South Africa, suggested that Ghana for Ghana to set herself on the path of development, “we need to develop our industrial base”.

“We cannot develop by importing almost everything from food to toothpick”, he noted.

He said although the One District-One Factory (1D1F) flagship initiative of the Akufo-Addo government “is laudable”, “quite frankly, we need a lot more than that to develop an industrial base”.

“And by the way, where is the industrial base or foundation laid by Kwame Nkrumah in the 60s?” he wondered.

At the time, he noted, “there was an understanding that there were no Ghanaian businesses with enough capital to venture into setting up industries”.

“So, the state took it upon itself to drive industrialisation and build the foundation for take-off. According to some records, over 100 factories were built across the regions and producing almost everything we needed at the time”, he said.

Today, he contrasted, “we still export mainly primary commodities and import finished products for consumption”.

“From 2010 to 2019, we spent $3.9 billion importing processed rice mainly from Asia, that is an average of almost $400 million or more than GHC2 billion per year. Over the same period, we spent $2.4 billion on sugar imports that is about GHC 13 billion. This cannot continue”, he said.

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