Keywords: virtual water, phosphorus, phytic acid, rice consumption, food security policy, Ghana, agricultural resources governance, rice imports, wheat imports, domestic production, rice production
Virtual water and phosphorus gains through rice imports to Ghana: implications for food security policy
This study estimated the gains of virtual water, Phosphorus (P) and Phytic Acid (PA) through rice and wheat import to Ghana for the period 1998–2005, and assessed the implications of increasing rice import coupled with declining domestic production for food security. The total virtual water of Ghana associated with rice and wheat import for the study period was 5574 Mm³, while the total P and PA was 1,364,097 and 3,825,438 tonnes, respectively. Domestic paddy rice production started declining from 2003, but was exceeded by import from 2001 onwards. Particularly for rice, the combination of factors such as surging demand and per capita consumption, low yield resulting from less land under cultivation and irrigation, and high import bill, necessitates policy actions to remove constraints on domestic production. The paper, therefore, suggests policy actions to increase domestic rice production and to minimise Ghana's exposure to the risks inherent in rice import.