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Sustainable Productivity Enhancement 

Program 2: Sustainable Productivity Enhancement (SPE) Program

In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), rice production almost doubled from 2008 to 2018. However, rice consumption in SSA increased faster and the situation of rice self-sufficiency became worse in the 10 years—from 63% to 59% in 23 member countries of the Coalition for African Rice Development (CARD). The increase in rice production was achieved largely by area expansion rather than by yield increase.


Overall from 2008 to 2018, yield increased from 2.17 t/ha to 2.36 t/ha in CARD countries. Three phases in yield trend were observed: (i) immediately after the food crisis (2008-2010), yield increased by 12% to 2.43 t/ha; (ii) yield decreased to 2.26 t/ha in 2011 [partly due to poor weather conditions (drought, floods) across Africa]; (iii) since 2012, yield is almost constant around 2.35 t/ha.


The increase in rice yield growth rate immediately after the rice crisis in 2008 was a response to renewed commitments by governments and R&D partners to boosting Africa’s rice sector by promoting the large-scale introduction of technological innovation. This indicates the importance to motivate producers and other stakeholders in the rice value chain to use more inputs to increase yield growth rate.


Efforts in two directions - (1) increase of local rice prices in the market; (2) reduction in production costs of local rice through better productivity - become important accordingly. AfricaRice therefore has adopted a value chain approach and the SPE program covers all technical aspects along the entire value chain after seed.


The program aims to add values to local rice and to develop input options with better effectiveness, efficiency and affordability to contribute to environment-friendly intensification and diversification of the rice-based systems under the climate change situation. At the same time the SPE program aims to develop options to expand lowlands for rice-based systems in a sustainable manner.


A close collaboration with national agricultural research systems (NARS) is an asset of AfricaRice to achieve impacts. The collaboration has been made mostly through the Africa-wide thematic Task Force mechanisms coordinated by AfricaRice. The SPE program hosts the Agronomy Task Force and Processing and Value Addition Task Force and works closely with the Mechanization Task Force on small-scale machinery evaluation.


  • To increase the production of rice through intensification and diversification of rice based-systems and through land expansion while minimizing negative effects on environmental services

  • To add value—quality, nutrition and reduced post-harvest loss—to locally produced rice through improved post-harvest practices  


  • Situation and scenario analyses (for demand-driven technologies)

  • Development of component technologies for cultivation and post-harvest—the technologies include decision-support tools

  • Integration of technologies developed and introduced into intensified and/or diversified systems

  • Introduction of technologies developed on the ground for validation by users through demonstrations

  • Initial technical backstopping for development partners to out-scale the technologies developed by AfricaRice

  • Capacity development



  • Innovations in cultivation to achieve sustainable intensification in rice-based systems developed

  • Profitable opportunities for diversification of farmers’ portfolio of enterprises made available

  • Innovations in post-harvest to achieve less losses in quality and quantity and added values in quality and nutrition developed

  • Lowlands expanded sustainably with improved water control in inland valleys

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