25,000 rice farmers benefit from TechnoServe CARI project
The Competitive African Rice Initiative (CARI) programme, implemented by TechnoServe Ghana, is facilitating growth in the rice sector, training over 25,000 rice farmers increase yield.
The CARI project is sponsored by German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development Co-funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Walmart Foundation.
The goal of the CARI project is to significantly improve the livelihoods of rice farming by smallholder famers in selected countries in the sub-region, where local rice production covers less than 60percent of demand.
The programme seeks to enroll over 30,000 farmers by 2017. Meanwhile, 3,000 and 20,000 farmers were enrolled in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
Speaking at the 3rd Ghana Rice Festival held in Accra, the Acting Country Director of TechnoServe Ghana, Samuel Baba Adongo, highlighted on some of the strides the CARI projects has made since its inception.
“CARI in Ghana is implemented in Ghana by TechnoServe. CARI aims to empower rice farmers by increasing the competitiveness of domestic rice production and marketing, thus raising their daily income of small-holder farmers above the poverty line from $2 per day to $4/day with a target of reaching out to some 34,000 small-holder farmers by the end of 2017.
Over 25,000 small holder farmers have benefitted from CARI’s intervention. Where farmers have been trained in good agronomic practices, business skills, improved family nutrition and savings culture. CARI farmers have increased yields from 2mt to 4mt/ha and doubled their incomes,” MR. Adongo said.
Even though Africa has a large untapped potential for rice production and a large and growing demand for consumption, yet US$5.6 billion worth of rice is estimated to be imported in 2013 from outside the continent.
Ghana alone has an estimated rice consumption of over 770,000 metric tonnes with estimated US$500million spent on imports yearly.
This, Mr. Adongo said can be significantly reduced if the private sector heightens its interest in the rice sector by increasing their investments in the area of financial and technical support to farmers.
“The private sector needs to take on a bigger role in the industry. The industry needs key investments in the areas of rice mills, input supply and mechanizations to facilitate the efficient production of quality rice for the market.
Currently, these private sector players are doing their very best to support the industry. But if the industry is supposed to reach its expected heights, more investment will be required to ensure the arrival at this outcome,” Mr. Adongo said.
He further advised that collective efforts must be made by both the private and public sector to ensure that farmers are economically and socially empowered to produce to satisfy local demand and possibly export in future.