Recent trends in rice production in Sub-Saharan Africa show significant opportunities for enhancing the performance of the rice sector in Africa. Most of the gains in yields and overall production can be attributed to recent initiatives that target boosting yields through improved production technologies, enhanced market efficiency, value addition and viable partnerships along the rice value chain.
“We recognize the Coalition for Africa Rice Development (CARD) as one of the key actors in rice development strategies that sustain African countries’ policies and efforts on large-scale rice production,” expressed Mr Bukar Tijani, FAO Assistant-Director General and Regional Representative for Africa, as he welcomed Mr Takanori Satoyama, General Coordinator of the Nairobi-based CARD Secretariat, on a visit to Ghana this week.
“As the demand-supply gap continues to widen, the continent relies heavily on importations to bridge this gap. Since the last African Regional Conference of Agriculture Ministers in 2014 in Tunis, FAO has continued to receive significant and increasing demands for assistance from Member States in Africa to develop rice initiatives”, he added.
In a working session at the Accra-based Regional Office for Africa, Mr Satoyama discussed with Mr Tijani opportunities to improve programme coordination and strengthen their existing cooperation in rice development and production in Africa.
“We are also requesting the support and commitment of FAO’s Africa Office in the preparations for the 6th CARD General Assembly Meeting to be held in November on the continent”, declared Mr Satoyama.
Consolidating Partnerships for a Hunger-free Africa
During the FAO Conference in Rome in June 2013, the TICAD V Conference held in Japan in 2013 and the TICAD V Ministerial meeting held in Cameroon in 2014, African Heads of State and Ministers of Agriculture emphasized the need for support to increase rice production and productivity.
On 1st July 2013, African Heads of State and Government of the African Union Member States, together with representatives of international organizations, civil society organizations, private sector, cooperatives, farmers, youths, academia and other partners met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and unanimously adopted a Declaration to end hunger in Africa by 2025. The Declaration calls for a combination of policies to promote sustainable agricultural development with social protection and budgetary allocation focused on the poor and recognition of the importance of non-state actors to ensure food security.
FAO has responded to this demand by initiating a partnership for sustainable rice systems development in Africa. The initiative seeks to mobilize resources and key partners at the global, regional, sub-regional and national levels to jointly develop and implement a holistic and comprehensive programme for sustainable rice systems development in the region.
“We remain committed to promote synergies and build on the comparative advantages of key institutions and organizations with a common vision and commitment to promoting food security and rice self-sufficiency in Africa”, concluded Mr Tijani.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)