Monday, May 24, 2010

Japan Emergency Rice Project benefits over 58,000 vulnerable rice farmers

The Emergency Rice Project launched by AfricaRice with support from Japan in the wake of the food crisis has been able to help a total of 58,226 vulnerable farmers get access to quality seed and at the same time, to reinforce or rebuild seed systems.

More than 60% of the project countries have now a good starting seed capital for the production of newly released varieties, including upland and lowland NERICAs. On average the number of hectares to be covered ranges from 350 (Sudan) to 1000 hectares (Côte d’Ivoire, Madagascar) and the majority of countries (more than 75%) will cover at least 600 hectares.

The seed component of the Japan Emergency Project was designed to provide access to quality rice seed to vulnerable farmers in 20 countries in Western, Eastern and Southern Africa, most of which belong to the group of 21 CARD candidate countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Liberia, Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Togo in West Africa and Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and in East Africa.

A total of 73 institutions participated including 20 NARS, 11 seed companies, 19 input-dealers and 23 NGOs promoting rice production. The project led to a reinforcement of the seed system in most countries and in some cases, to start rebuilding them (Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Côte d’Ivoire).

As part of the project, seed donations were made to farmers in the participating countries in the presence of partners and government officials. In Côte d’Ivoire, AfricaRice Director General attended the seed donation ceremony held in May 2010.