Ghana Still Bans Corn Export, and Imports Hit $27 Million


Talk to our team about AgFlow's offering  →

Reading time: 2 minutes

Corn cultivation in Ghana has been ongoing for centuries. After its introduction in the late 16th century, it got established as an essential staple crop in the southern part of Ghana. Corn is Ghana’s most widely produced and consumed cereal crop, and Corn production has seen an increasing trend since 1965. Corn production in Ghana is predominantly done under rain-fed conditions by poorly resourced smallholder farmers. Generally, Corn production happens in almost every part of Ghana, but over 70% of the Corn output is from three agroecological zones (guinea savanna, forest-savanna, and transitional zones). The five principal Corn growing areas are the Northern, Brong‐Ahafo, Ashanti, Central, and Eastern Regions.

Given the enormous importance of Corn to Ghana’s economy, Government and non-governmental interventions have been implemented over the last three decades to improve Corn grain production. Examples of government programs to enhance Corn yield include fertilizer subsidies, mechanization, buffer stock schemes, and increased tariffs on the importation of Corn grains.

Corn is an important food crop in Ghana, accounting for more than 50 percent of the country’s total cereal production. The Ghana Grains Development Project (1979–1997) and the Food Crops Development Project (2000–2008) made significant investments to improve Corn yield. Despite these efforts, the average Corn yield in Ghana remains one of the lowest in the world, much lower than the average for Africa south of the Sahara. It is also lower than yields in similar lowland, rainfed, tropical environments in Thailand and southern Mexico.

As of 2021, Corn production in Ghana reached 3.5 million metric tons, the highest since 2010. The quantity of Corn produced in the country amounted to 2.9 million metric tons in 2019, following a rising trend visible since 2016.

Yields have been growing by only 1.1 percent per annum in Ghana. In 2012, Corn yields in Ghana averaged 1.2–1.8 metric tons (mt) per hectare (ha), far below the potential yield of 4–6 mt/ha achieved in on‐station trials. This note examines Corn productivity against this backdrop. It looks at the state of technology adoption, markets and policies, and attainable yield potential to explain the persistently low productivity of Corn in Ghana.

Despite the efforts to improve Corn yield, challenges such as fall armyworm infestation and extreme rainfall events have debilitated productivity in recent years. For instance, in 2016, a severe El Niño led to a drastic reduction in Corn yield. Similarly, between late 2020 and mid-2021, Ghana went through a serious Corn grain crisis emanating from the 2020 minor season crop failure. The phenomenon led to shortages and spikes in the prices of Corn grains and Corn-based animal feeds. Moreover, the shortage led to an increase in Corn grain prices in the local market, which affected household food security and the national economy at large.

Corn importation continues to be regulated by the Government of Ghana, and a permit is required to import Corn into the country. Like other targeted crops for national food security, Corn production has received considerable support from the GOG under its flagship agricultural transformation agenda, PFJ. Since 2017, Corn farmers have benefited from the GOG’s subsidized inputs policy. Indeed, most of the target beneficiaries under the fertilizer subsidy program have been Corn farmers. Currently, a GOG policy banning the exports of grains, including Corn, remains in force.

Corn Import in Ghana

In 2021, Ghana imported Corn worth $27.4 million, becoming the world’s 90th largest importer of Corn. In the same year, Corn was Ghana’s 158th most imported product. Ghana imports Corn primarily from: Argentina ($15.8 million), South Africa ($10.8 million), the United States ($325k), Thailand ($238k), and Turkey ($147k).

The fastest-growing import markets in Corn for Ghana between 2020 and 2021 were Argentina ($13.9 million), South Africa ($7.53 million), and Thailand ($187k).

Other sources: MDPI

Try AgFlow Free

Access Free On Updates for Corn, Wheat, Soybean,
Barley, and Sunflower Oil.

No Credit Card Required & Unlimited Access In Time