AfricaRice Strategic Plan
Boosting Africa’s Rice Sector: A research for development strategy 2011–2020
Rice consumption in Africa is increasing rapidly because of changes in consumer preferences, rapid urbanization and population growth. Africa’s rice production, which is increasing by more than 5% per year, has not been able to match the growth in demand. This is creating a self-sufficiency gap across the continent, which results in African countries spending about $6 billion annually to import rice.
As witnessed by the food crisis in 2008, this is a very risky, expensive and unsustainable situation, and it may lead to severe food insecurity and civil instability in the most vulnerable African countries. Soaring and highly volatile rice prices and relatively low levels of global rice stocks are predicted to remain the norm in the coming years. However, Africa has the human, physical and economic resources to produce enough rice to feed itself.
AfricaRice Strategic Plan 2011-2020 presents a Rice Research for Development Strategy to realize Africa’s tremendous rice potential. The critical challenge facing the African rice sector is to enhance performance in production, processing and marketing to respond to a major concern to be turned into an opportunity: the growing demand for rice as a preferred staple.
Through a priority-setting process involving consultation with stakeholders and rice experts, and information based on household surveys and national statistics, the following seven research-for-development (R4D) Priority Areas (PAs) were identified:
Conserving rice genetic resources and providing smallholder farmers with climate-resilient rice varieties that are better adapted to production environments and consumer preferences
Improving rural livelihoods by closing yield gaps and through sustainable intensification and diversification of rice-based systems
Achieving socially acceptable expansion of rice-producing areas, while addressing environmental concerns
Creating market opportunities for smallholder farmers and processors by improving the quality and the competitiveness of locally produced rice and rice products
Facilitating the development of the rice value chain through improved technology targeting and evidence-based policy-making
Mobilizing co-investments and linking with development partners and the private sector to stimulate uptake of rice knowledge and technologies
Strengthening the capacities of national rice research and extension agents and rice value-chain actors.
Towards a new strategic plan
The current Strategic Plan runs to the end of 2020. The development of a strategy for a new Rice Research Program for Africa is under discussion. AfricaRice and its partners strongly believe that the generation of science-based innovations adapted to Africa along the rice value chain and their fast access and adoption at scale by farmers are key to transforming the rice sector in Africa.