5 July 2011
Africa’s rice stakeholders
root for mechanization
Noting that lack
of mechanization is seriously undermining the
productivity and competitiveness of rice in
sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), representatives of
rice stakeholders in the region met recently to
develop a roadmap for sustainable mechanization
of the rice sector.
The stakeholders emphasized that small
equipment, such as 2-wheel tractors, row
seeders, mechanical threshers, small combine
harvesters and small mills need to be tested,
and where possible manufactured locally.
National governments were urged to consult
research organizations when importing machinery
to ensure that in addition to being effective
and durable, the technology is well-adapted to
local rice-growing conditions and can be
serviced and repaired locally.
“According to conservative estimates based on
recent surveys in 18 countries in SSA, cutting
by half the on-farm post-harvest losses through
the use of improved technologies would lead to a
saving of 0.9 million tons of milled rice,” said
Marco Wopereis, Deputy Director General for
Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice), which
hosted the meeting at its research station in
St. Louis, Senegal.
“The amount of rice saved is equivalent to
nearly 17% of rice imports into the region and
has a real value of USD 410 million in 2011.
This can help lift about 2.8 million persons in
rice farming households out of poverty,” Dr.
Promising technologies for high labor-intensive
activities, such as land preparation, seeding,
weeding, harvesting, and processing of rice and
sustainable approaches for their introduction,
testing and out-scaling were presented at the
The ASI thresher-cleaner, which has been adapted
and introduced by AfricaRice in collaboration
International Rice Research Institute (IRRI),
national extension services and local
manufacturers in several countries of the
region, was cited as a successful example. ASI
has received high recognition in the region,
including the Senegal Presidential Award and
praises from the Chad Government.
The participants agreed that the key factors for
a sustainable mechanization program include not
only appropriate technologies but also sound
business principles, local ownership, dealer
support, government backing and local training
in the use and maintenance of equipment.
Key recommendations targeted to various
stakeholders were made. These include the need
coherent strategies and policies to boost
mechanization in rice-based systems
and duties on imported machinery and raw
of local manufacturers and end-users to
south-south cooperation and public-private
sector collaboration in mechanization
adapt promising prototypes in partnership
with local manufacturers
capacity in the use, development and
maintenance of equipment
Joe Rickman, Regional Coordinator for IRRI’s
activities in East and Southern Africa,
highlighted the need to develop simple business
models for small-scale mechanization and to
enhance collaboration between Africa and Asia in
“The time is right for mechanization in the rice
sector in Africa, but we need to do a much
better job in testing imported and locally
manufactured equipment and recommending
modifications for local conditions,” Dr. Rickman
said, referring to the large number of imported
agricultural machines that lie abandoned across
SSA because of inappropriate design, lack of
spare parts or costly maintenance.
In addition to AfricaRice and IRRI, the
participants included representatives of
national research and extension organizations of
seven countries (Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal,
Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Uganda) as well as
government officials, local and international
farm equipment manufacturers, local dealers and
rural credit providers.
Representatives from the
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA),
coopération internationale en recherche
agronomique pour le développement (CIRAD)
Coalition for African Rice Development
(CARD) also attended.
The meeting was supported by the
Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP) – a
CGIAR Research Program – that includes hundreds
of partners across the world. IRRI is the
overall leader of GRiSP, while AfricaRice is
leading the GRiSP activities in Africa.
Video collage of the GRiSP mechanization workshop
Scenes from the GRiSP mechanization workshop
Presentations from the GRiSP mechanization workshop
The Consultative Group on
International Agricultural Research (CGIAR)
is a global partnership that unites
organizations engaged in research for
sustainable development with the funders of this
work. The funders include developing and
industrialized country governments, foundations,
and international and regional organizations.
The work they support is carried out by 15
members of the Consortium of International
Agricultural Research Centers, in close
collaboration with hundreds of partner
organizations, including national and regional
research institutes, civil society
organizations, academia, and the private sector.
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AfricaRice is a CGIAR Research Center –
part of a global research partnership for a food-secure future. It is
also an intergovernmental association of African member countries.
The Center was created in 1971 by 11 African countries. Today its
membership comprises 26 countries, covering West, Central, East and
North African regions, namely Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central
African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo,
Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau,
Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of
Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo and Uganda.
AfricaRice headquarters is based in Côte d’Ivoire. Staff are located in
Côte d’Ivoire and also in AfricaRice Research Stations in Benin,
Liberia, Madagascar, Nigeria, Senegal and Tanzania. For more information
CGIAR is a global research partnership for a
food-secure future. CGIAR science is dedicated to reducing poverty,
enhancing food and nutrition security, and improving natural resources
and ecosystem services. Its research is carried out by 15 CGIAR Centers
in close collaboration with hundreds of partners, including national and
regional research institutes, civil society organizations, academia,
development organizations and the private sector.