The Continental Investment Plan for accelerating Rice Self-sufficiency in Africa (CIPRiSSA) reviews the past, current and future status of rice in Africa – demand, production, consumption, importation and investment opportunities in the rice value chain in Africa. It provides a roadmap for accelerated action to reach self-sufficiency in rice, by 2025, for 11 African countries. The document provides, for each country, background information on the rice value chain, the investments required to achieve rice self-sufficiency, as well as the benefits and profitability of the proposed investments. It also emphasizes the vital importance of public-private-partnership for realizing the objectives set for the program.
In the aftermath of the 2007-2008 rice crisis, when shortages in the global production of rice and the resulting high prices of the commodity led to riots in several major African cities, rice-importing countries in Africa vowed to act and accelerate efforts to achieve self-sufficiency in rice. Timelines for achieving rice self-sufficiency were fixed while production targets and investment requirements were set. Despite such endeavors, these timelines and targets have not been reached and Africa has continued to import as much as 12.6 million tons (MT) of milled rice with a huge rice import bill of US$ 5.5 billion annually. Whilst the increasing rice demand has been associated with rising urbanization, it is also true that rice is a major strategic crop in ensuring food security in the continent.
Therefore, appropriate policy measures are required to adequately address the challenges encountered by various actors operating along the various segments of the rice value chain. Such challenges include weaknesses in technical, strategic policy issues, economic viability assessments, and insufficient political commitment. The huge rice import bill adds further pressure to the already strained and limited resources available to African countries.
African countries could re-channel some of the savings from substituting local rice production for imports to improving the quality and quantity of services, especially in human capital and infrastructure development that would help lift the countries out of poverty. Ending rice import dependency would significantly impact on job security, gender inclusion, conservation of scarce foreign exchange earnings, and economic diversification, thereby enhancing the pathway out of poverty. CIPRiSSA was conceptualized to play a key role in addressing these issues.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) is committed to implementing appropriate strategies to invest in and realize huge benefits for Africa’s rice sector. This commitment is in line with its “Feed Africa” initiative that considers the agriculture sector as the key employer and growth stimulator for Africa’s economic transformation. The strategy posits that increasing the performance of the agricultural value chain will help Africa meet and/or exceed projected food consumption by 2025. Realizing the goal of full agricultural transformation would thus require a comprehensive involvement of all relevant stakeholders of the agricultural value chains.
In the case of rice, an appropriate convener tool is the Continental Investment Plan for accelerating Rice Self-sufficiency in Africa (CIPRiSSA), developed by the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice). CIPRiSSA, an Eight-Year Rice Development Investment Plan (2018-2025), facilitates investment in priority areas of the rice value chain and accelerate the attainment of rice self-sufficiency by 2025, for the initial 10 countries studied: Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Madagascar, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Uganda. The study was extended to The Gambia in 2019.
CIPRiSSA is conceptualized as country-specific investments in the following priority areas – 1) production; 2) irrigation development and maintenance; 3) storage and distribution of certified and foundation seeds; 4) machines and equipment for production/processing; 5) fertilizer packaging and distribution; 6) technology transfer and capacity building; and 7) marketing/upgrading the rice value chain. The additional investment required for the initial 10 countries was projected at US$ 2.7 billion for the period 2018 to 2025.
Such investment would not only lead to the attainment of rice self-sufficiency by the countries, but will also generate, in some countries, enough surpluses to initiate the export of rice before 2025. The projected benefits include savings on the foreign exchange for the countries deployed annually for rice import, creation of new job opportunities, an additional production of 7.33 MT of milled rice (equivalent to 11.7 MT of paddy). Profitability analysis indicates that the new investments in the continent’s rice value chain would generate significant high benefits-costs ratios [Net Present Value (NPV) ratio to investment].
Several decision-makers are taking ownership of this evidence-based information generated by CIPRiSSA and are seeking new public-private partnership investments in order to end reliance on rice imports. CIPRiSSA emphasizes that African governments must develop and sustain policies that create the conducive environment for stimulating actions that would lead to, and sustain rice self-sufficiency, send the appropriate signals to the private sector actors, and attract the right set of investor capital and expertise. Such spirit and action are needed to move the rice industry from its present status to where it needs to be by 2025.