Friday, June 3, 2011

Boosting Africa’s rice sector

Most African governments have consolidated the gains in rice productivity made in 2008, after the food crisis hit the continent. This has involved a host of measures ranging from subsidy for seed and fertilizers to restoring irrigation infrastructure and establishing milling and storage structures.

Despite this, Africa’s demand for rice continues to increase by an astounding 4.2% over the previous year. The gap between demand and supply filled by imports remained stable at almost 10 million tons of rice, costing US$ 4 billion. The import bill for rice still remains a huge burden for many African countries.

AfricaRice is determined to continue through its well-tested strategic partnership mode to conduct research for development impact to contribute to reducing the gap between rice supply and demand. Linking research and development efforts and involving the private sector will be critical to boosting Africa’s rice sector and to reduce the continent’s reliance on imports.

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