Ghana is the largest commercial market for U.S. rice sales on the African continent. For more than 10 years, the USA Rice Federation has conducted successful promotional activities in this key market. As a result, U.S. rice is well-known among Ghanaian consumers and is preferred over long-grain rice from other origins. The United States is the third-largest rice exporter to Ghana.

In 2011, U.S. jasmine rice was introduced in Ghana as a new variety to provide direct competition with Thai jasmine rice. In just one year, sales of U.S. jasmine rice increased four-fold. Total U.S. rice sales to Ghana of all varieties equalled 110,000 MT from January-November 2012, a 25 percent increase compared to the same time period in 2011 and double the 2009 import figure.

USA Rice promotions are directed at middle and upper income consumers in the Golden Triangle, which includes the capital city of Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi. These areas are the largest population centers in Ghana and offer the best sales opportunities for U.S. rice. Promotional activities include TV, press and radio advertising in English as well as in twi and ga, (two of the most prevalent local languages.

A unique aspect of USA Rice’s promotional activities in Ghana is the focus on local communities and their associated social networks. For example, USA Rice organizes educational seminars for mothers at local church groups. Discussions during the seminars include the nutritional and economic advantages of cooking U.S. rice for family meals. Locally available U.S. rice brands donate U.S. rice for these seminars.

In addition, promotional events held at orphanages where children and their caregivers receive a hot, nutritious meal and donations of basic school supplies such as pens, pencils and story books, have become a regular activity for USA Rice. This year marks the seventh consecutive year USA Rice has worked with the orphanages, resulting in positive media appearances on Ghanaian TV and radio channels.

Another group that USA Rice targets are the small artisanal food shops which sell home-made dishes alongside busy roads in Ghana‘s larger cities. The number of these independent food sellers is increasing due to the growing number of working women and middle income consumers spending less time cooking meals at home. USA Rice organizes seminars for this specialized foodservice marketto distribute information on the economic advantages of using U.S. rice and the importance of basic hygiene practices and key accounting concepts to help make their small businesses more profitable.

In the coming year, USA Rice’s promotional plans for Ghana include continued close cooperation with the locally available U.S. rice brands and increased grass roots activities with consumers, as these marketing strategies result in a longlasting preference and loyalty to U.S. rice.