Monday, December 15, 2008

Ethiopia recognizes Africa Rice Center’s contribution

On the occasion of the Ethiopian Millennium and the 40th Anniversary of the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR), Africa Rice Center was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation for its “invaluable cooperation and support” to the country’s rice research and development activities.

Ethiopia is emerging as an important rice growing country in Eastern Africa. The area under rice production in Ethiopia is estimated to have increased from 49,000 ha in 2007 to about 90,000 ha in 2008. It is projected to reach 400,000 ha by 2010.

Key to this success has been the immense effort made by Dr Tareke Berhe, Director of the Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA)’s regional rice program and his colleagues. Dr Berhe was instrumental in introducing improved rice varieties in the country, especially the upland  NERICA varieties developed by Africa Rice Center.

Between 2005 and 2007, four upland  NERICA varieties from Africa Rice Center were released to Ethiopian farmers. According to Dr Berhe, the NERICA varieties produce yields of 3–6 t per hectare in farmers’ fields.

Ethiopia is part of the new initiative on stress-tolerant rice varieties led by IRRI and Africa Rice Center with financial support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“ Africa Rice Center is deeply honored to receive this recognition from Ethiopia for the strong partnership that has been forged between us,” stated Director General Dr Papa Seck.

This partnership ranges from governance to research. The current Board Chair of Africa Rice Center is Mr Getachew Engida from UK/Ethiopia. Dr Tsekede Abate, former Director General of the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research Organization has served as a Africa Rice Center Board member.
Senior Ethiopian scientists have also been working with Africa Rice Center, including Dr Kassa Semagn, former Post-doctoral Fellow (PDF) and Dr Negussie Shoatatek Zenna, current PDF.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Research Days mark significant changes for Africa’s rice research

At the recent Africa Rice Center Research Days, its Scientific Advisory Committee comprising three top rice experts from the world – Prof. Takeshi Horie from Japan, Dr Alain Ghesquière from France and Dr Neil Rutger from USA – praised the Center for the changes made in its new Center’s research thrusts.
The changes include:

(1) A clear focus on the development of the next generation varieties for Africa in partnership with national partners, IRRI and CIAT – building on the  NERICA success;
(2) Greater linkages with development organizations operating at village level to close yield gaps and enhance rice productivity in farmers’ fields;
(3) Increased emphasis on the lowland ecology which has high potential for sustainable rice expansion and diversification in the continent;
(4) Introduction of rice value-chain research to study ways to increase the competitiveness of the Africa rice sector; and
(5) Greater emphasis on capacity building and rice information exchange.

 Africa Rice Center Deputy Director General Dr Marco Wopereis presented the Center’s restructured research programs and the outline of a new Strategic Plan for 2010 and beyond, which is being developed in close consultation with its national partners.

The Committee expressed its appreciation for the successful research alignment between Africa Rice Center and IRRI, which it considered to be of great benefit to Africa’s rice producers and consumers. It also appreciated the progress in the number of scientific publications by Africa Rice Center scientists – compared to 2007 – particularly in partnership with national scientists.

Participants of the Research Days meeting included the Chairs of ROCARIZ rice network and African Rice Initiative, the Coordinator of the West Africa Productivity Program, scientists from all Africa Rice Center research stations and partners from IRRI and IITA-Cotonou as well as the Director General of Gabon’s national program who was visiting Africa Rice Center to explore the possibilities of future collaboration. Representatives from Africa Rice Center’s National Experts Committee, comprising the Directors General of Africa Rice Center’s 22 member States also attended.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Africa Rice Center hosts First Technical Meeting of CARD

Twenty participants from AGRA, JICA, JIRCAS, World Bank, WFP, AfDB, IFAD, FARA, FAO, IRRI and Africa Rice Center met for a 2-day technical workshop of the Coalition for African Rice Development (CARD), 25-26 September, in Cotonou, Benin.

CARD was launched in May this year as a consultative grouping of participating bilateral and multilateral development partners and African and international institutions to double rice production in Africa by around 2017. CARD has strong links to the existing structures, programs and networks such as Africa Rice Center, FARA and the African Rice Initiative (ARI).

The objective of the First CARD Technical Meeting was to prepare the groundwork for the First CARD General Meeting, which will be held, 29-30 October, in Nairobi, Kenya.

During the Technical Meeting, preliminary cross cutting issues identified for CARD were seed production, breeding for (a)biotic stresses, mechanization, varietal release procedures, water resource management, cross-border trade and value chain development (economic development). A major thrust of CARD is capacity building.

CARD will start with a 3-year phase. Actions to be taken by the CARD Secretariat are (1) to develop National Rice Development Strategies in 12 SSA countries (21 candidate countries have been identified), (2) identify country specific and cross-cutting actions, (3) focus on advocacy, and (4) information exchange. The final decisions will be taken at the first CARD General Meeting.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Dr Seck Invited by UN Secretary General to a High-Level Meeting on MDG

The United Nations Secretary General has invited Africa Rice Center Director General Dr Papa Abdoulaye Seck to lead a Round-table discussion on Poverty and Hunger on 25 September 2008 at the UN Headquarters in New York, USA. 

The Round-table discussion is being held as part of a High-level event on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which is being convened by the President of the General Assembly and the UN Secretary General. 

This High-level Event is of particular significance given that since 2000, the MDGs have provided a global framework to tackle the world’s most urgent developments challenges by 2015. It will be a forum for world leaders to review progress, identify gaps, and commit to concrete efforts, resources and mechanisms to bridge the gaps. 

“This gathering will bring together world leaders, representatives of the private sector and our civil society partners to discuss specific ways to energize our efforts. I expect the meeting will also send a strong message that governments are ready to rise to the financing for development challenge,” stated the Secretary General.

On receiving the invitation, Dr Seck said, “I strongly believe that this is an honor for every member of the Africa Rice Center family and a great recognition of Africa Rice Center’s contribution to African development.”

Monday, September 8, 2008

Rising food prices

Rather than being a threat, the current food crisis caused by rising food prices is a unique historical opportunity for Africa to break from decades of policy bias against agriculture, which accounts for 35% of GDP in the continent and 75% of employment.

The present rice crisis for instance is already forcing African countries to pay attention to local rice production, which has been neglected for so long. In the past few months, rice prices in the global market have jumped to record levels not reached since the 1970s food crisis.

Many factors explain the current high price of rice. First of all, since 2002, the global level of rice production has fallen short of consumption, requiring continuous recourses to globally held rice stocks to compensate for production shortfall. This has resulted in the decline of world rice stocks from 147.3 million tones in 2001 to 74.1 million tones in 2008. According to USDA, the ratio of rice stocks to overall consumption is 17.5% (its lowest level since 1976/77). These stocks, half of which are owned by China, represent two months of world consumption needs.

A compounding factor has been the export ban imposed by major rice exporters. Other factors are the rising prices of oil and freight, depreciation of the dollar and additional pressure on agricultural resources because of biofuel production. The limited scope for increasing rice-growing areas in major Asian producing countries and the absence of major yield-enhancing technological breakthroughs in Asia, together with the low level of global stocks, indicate that prices could remain high in the near future.

While people around the world have been feeling the impact of the soaring food prices, no one has been hurt more than Africans. With nearly 40% of the total rice consumption of Africa coming from the international market, African national rice economies are more exposed to unpredictable external supply and price shocks than those of other continents. A third of the volume of rice traded globally is sourced for Africa. It is also by far the most vulnerable continent because of its high prevalence of poverty and food insecurity.
The eruption of recent riots, due mainly to rising rice prices in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Senegal and Mali, testifies to this vulnerability. Policymakers are adopting ill-advised price controls that risk pricing smallholders out of the market and into further deprivation.

The option for Africa is to combine emergency responses for the short term with measures favorable to sustainable expansion of Africa’s rice supply in the longer term. Short-term measures include the reduction of customs duties and taxes on imported rice and the establishment of mechanisms to avoid speculation in the rice markets. However, governments should take care not to undermine incentives for domestic rice production for the benefit of social peace in the major urban centers. The rising trends in rice price levels improve farmers’ incentive for producing more rice.

In the medium- and long-term, tax on all critical inputs, basic agricultural machinery and equipments and post-harvest technologies need to be reduced. Governments also have key roles to play in facilitating access to financial services and credit for resource-poor farmers, seed producers and rice processors; increasing investment in water-control technologies; expanding the rice areas under irrigation; accelerating investment in regional research capacity; and hastening the pace of investment in rural infrastructure.

We are convinced that the future of rice farming lies in Africa. Unlike Asia, this continent has great untapped potential, which can be seen in its large tracts of land and under-utilized water resources. For example, sub-Saharan Africa has 130 million hectares of lowlands but just 3.9 million hectares are under cultivation. Our studies also show that local rice production under irrigated conditions can be as competitive as in Asia and much cheaper than in America.

By Papa Abdoulaye Seck,
Agricultural policy and strategy specialist
Director General, Africa Rice Center (WARDA)

Article appeared in The Economist debate: Rising food prices as Featured Guest's Comments

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Can rice crisis be turned into opportunity for Africa?

The news spotlight on the world rice crisis has mostly focused on Asia where the cost of this staple food recently topped $700 per tonne, but it is Africa that is showing the greatest strain with riots and demonstrations worrying several governments.

Many Africans well remember that so-called ‘rice riots’ were adjudged the trigger for civil war in Liberia. Recent riots in Abidjan, the capital of Cote d’Ivoire and in Ouagadougou, the capital of landlocked Burkina Faso, are blamed entirely on the shortage of cereals, particularly rice. Cameroon, Senegal and Mauritania have seen similar violent expressions of public discontent with rising prices. Unless political leaders take urgent remedial action, the robust economic recovery previously witnessed in Africa could be comprised.

Around 40 percent of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA)’s demand for rice is met by imports, costing about $2 billion in 2006. Marketable crop surpluses in SSA represent less than one third of total output. To capitalize on the improving incentive for rice production, smallholder farmers need help in raising productivity and increasing the domestic supply of rice.

Africa’s potentials for enhanced production are multiple and include availability of modern rice technologies, large tracts of land and underutilized water resources. For instance, NERICA® rice varieties combine high yield, short duration, resistance to pests and diseases and acceptable taste. FAO states 98% of the 200 million ha of wetlands are available for rice cultivation. Recent Africa Rice Center studies show that local rice production is competitive in Benin, Guinea, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal even without the recent price hikes. Washington DC-based IFPRI pinpoints that investing in rice holds the greatest potential for contributing to growth and poverty reduction in West Africa because of the largely unexploited production opportunity and the high consumer demand.

Rather than being a threat, the increasing rice price is an unique historical opportunity to use latent potential for production and break from decades of policy bias against agriculture which accounts for 35% of SSA GDP and 75% of employment. Too often, policymakers have knee-jerk reactions such as ill-advised price controls that risk pricing smallholders out of the market and into further deprivation.

Regional collaboration to capitalize on the improving incentives for rice sector development in the short- and longer terms is needed. The following is what I propose to SSA governments.

In the short-run governments should employ well-targeted safety net programs for the poorest urban (and rural) consumers and vigorously support smallholder rice producers to raise their productivity and marketed surpluses. Temporary reductions in levies on imported rice and Government’s procurement of locally produced rice at subsidized prices that can be sold at selected points to the poorest will facilitate access to this staple food. Access by Africa’s 31 million small rice farmers to proven improved rice varieties such as NERICA® could be expanded, along with provision of subsidies on fertilizers and accelerated rehabilitation of existing irrigation schemes.

Governments should also endeavor to coordinate their policy initiatives in favor of locally-produced rice. Benin was the leading export market for Thailand with more than 800,000 tonnes of rice in 2007 despite consuming less than 100,000 tonnes per annum. Of course, neighboring Nigeria which maintains a much higher border tariff ends up being the final destination of most of that volume of rice. To stimulate domestic rice production effectively, a common subregional or regional strategy is needed.

Additionally, governments should quickly sensitize powerful urban interest groups such as consumer groups and rice importers to their long-term best interests in supporting domestic rice production and reducing dependence on imports. Rice importers should be given appropriate tax incentives to foster their investment in domestic rice production capacity, especially in post-harvest rice processing and value-addition activities. Entrepreneurs at all levels need similar encouragement to step up production of quality rice seed.

In the medium to long term, SSA governments should step up investment in water-control technologies for lowland rice production and reduce import duties on low-cost, small-scale machinery for land preparation and harvest and post-harvest activities. Governments and donors must also invest in building rice research and extension capacity.

For the long-run, governments need strategies for sustained investment in new irrigation schemes to raise the share of irrigated rice in domestic production from less than 10% on average presently to more than 50%. Africa urgently needs to build its capacity to train rice scientists, technicians and change agents from government, NGOs or the private sector to interact with farmers in technology adaptation and dissemination that will contribute to increased rice harvests in the long run and also acknowledge that most rice farmers are women. More strategic research is needed at continental level, e.g. to develop rice varieties resistant to major pests and diseases and robust enough to withstand the vagaries of climate change such as erratic drought spells, extreme temperatures and flooding.

Africa has already demonstrated a capability to double rice production in a much shorter time than did Asia during its Green Revolution. Production in West Africa went from 2.76 million tonnes (milled rice equivalent) in 1985 to 5.75 million tonnes in 2005. Strong government support in Uganda and Nigeria has produced returns that show the continent can yet beat not only the current crisis but the cumulative 10-year crisis that some experts predict will cripple world cereal supplies.

By Papa Abdoulaye Seck,
Agricultural policy and strategy specialist
Director General, Africa Rice Center (WARDA)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Humanity is today facing an acute rice crisis that, no doubt, is a serious threat to social peace keeping. This is not a surprise to me at all, because when I consider the knowledge capital accumulated by man, it is hard and even impossible not to foresee such phenomena. Africa Rice Center (WARDA) has for at least 02 years predicted a rice crisis in Africa as of 2008. The last whistle blowing dates back from the Council of Ministers of Member States held in Abuja in September 2007. During that important meeting, WARDA Director General had made a presentation entitled “Rice crisis in Africa, myth or reality”? It clearly emphasized that our continent was heading to real supply difficulties. In fact Africa accounts for 10 to 13 per cent of world population but consumes 32 per cent of world imports with a consumption growth rate of about 4.5 per cent per annum. Coupled with this are world stocks, which are at their lowest level since 25 years, with at least 2 months reserve including the half that is based in China. It must also be emphasized that econometric models had also estimated that 2008 prices would at least be double of 2002 prices. Finally supply is steadily shrinking. For example, a leading producer like China lost 4 million hectares over 10 years and could look for 10 per cent of its requirements on the international markets, that is, 35 per cent of the quantities that are traded. This is in fact the equivalent of current Africa share.

Many initiatives have been taken by most African Governments. But we are bound to note and emphasize that just like in other parts of the world, nothing could stop the phenomenon.

The rice crisis is structural; it is likely to be long and hard, because Asia is less and less capable of feeding the world. An analysis of the 10 last years shows that world consumption is increasing on average by 1 per cent per annum and productivity by 0.5 per cent. The crisis therefore might be the cumulated effect of the gaps recorded each year.

I am convinced that Africa holds the future for rice farming. Because this continent, unlike Asia, has a great untapped potential, which is benchmarked by its large land distribution and its barely used water resources (Zambia, DRC, Sierra Leone, Mali, Senegal, etc.). For illustration, in sub-Saharan Africa, there are 130 million hectares of lowlands including the 3.9 million only under cultivation. Meanwhile in Asia, the challenge is not about increasing rice areas but rather about maintaining them. The competitiveness of local rice production in sub-Saharan Africa is now a fact. This can be demonstrated by comparing yields achieved in Thailand and Vietnam with yields recorded in Senegal, Mali and Niger. Stereotypes regarding our cost and quality competitiveness are rather wishful thinking and beside the points.

Africa needs to turn things around by overriding the emergency management logic to favor a genuine rationalization of its thought on the future and by taking concrete recovery steps. Viewed in this way, this crisis is rather an opportunity to think out of the box and act differently to feed ourselves on an indigenous and sustainable basis. Only one issue is therefore at stake: what are the problems and what should be done?

On the short term, the measures taken by a number of African Governments regarding tax reduction and a number of mechanisms targeting fairness on the markets are consistent. They must however be more pro-poor focused. They must also initiate thinking immediately on medium and long term actions, because the equations will come up more strongly in terms of resource availability than resource accessibility.

Along these lines the following points can be made:

1. Significantly increase the share of high yielding irrigated rice farming in production. Today irrigated areas in Africa accounts for less than 10 per cent compared to more than 50 per cent in Asia. Irrigated rice farming helps to both achieve very high yields (3 to 4 times higher than rainfed) and to conduct double cropping.

2. Promote the use of varieties like NERICA (a variety developed by WARDA through a crossing between the African rice and the Asian rice). NERICA helps to markedly increase yields in a number of ecosystems, to achieve a shorter cycle (less than 50 days compared to traditional varieties) and a protein value which is higher by 25 per cent compared to imported rice. Today there are 18 NERICA varieties developed for upland and 60 for lowland, which have been released in 20 African countries. Streamlining and fast tracking the procedures for releasing these varieties through the use of the participatory methods proposed by WARDA should be approved by all African countries to reduce the adoption process by several numbers of years.

3. Increase access to improved seed: Seed availability is one of the major constraints of a successful use of improved varieties like NERICA. To overcome such a problem the following measures, among others, are necessary: (i) Enact standard laws for seeds and define efficient seed control and certification mechanisms, and ensure their implementation. (ii) Establish a seed legislation system to support private sector involvement in seed supply and trade. (iii) Support national agricultural research systems (NARS) in breeder’s seed and foundation seed production.

4. Improve cropping practices: WARDA and its partners have highlighted the possibility of increasing yields in farmer operational condition through an integrated management of the rice season by proposing alternatives ranging from land preparation to harvest. Yield gains from one to two tonnes per hectare have been made in irrigated systems and lowlands, without any significant increase in production costs; the improvements specifically focus on fertility management and weed control.

5. Reduce harvest and post-harvest losses: Harvest and post-harvest losses (in quantity and quality) accounts for 15 to 50 per cent of the market value of production. Making performing equipment available to operators and training them is therefore the only way to reduce losses and to improve quality together with links with the various operators in the rice value chain.

6. Support research and extension systems and their links: Establishing a rice operator platform, a national rice program support fund and adequately funding rice research and extensions systems appear to me as the major thrusts to be considered.

7. Mass Support to rice sector operators: There is a deregulation in international trade. Until a recent year, the 11 000 North American rice farmers received subsidies valued at US$ 1.4 billion per year. Meanwhile the 7 million African rice farmers keep on battling it out with a liberalized market without any subsidy and with limited access to credit, input and market information.

It is in fact obvious that rural African operators like all their counterparts around the world need a substantial support.

8. Improve our infrastructure to reduce the high cost of inputs: Prices of fertilizer in Africa are generally 2 to 6 times higher than prices in Asia, Europe and North America which are specifically tied to high transportation charges. We therefore have objective limitations for a smart intensification to boost African rice productivity.


Africa must understand that it must ensure a rice supply that is sufficient in quantity, satisfactory in quality, rewarding for producers and bearable by the budget of the poorest consumers. It is at this cost and this cost alone that it can escape “hostage taking” by world prices. There is no secret; a competitive and sustainable agriculture is achieved by a combination of 03 smart factors: Performing technologies, basic infrastructure and an enabling environment. Yes it is possible to turn the trends around but on the medium term.

Dr. Papa A. Seck
Agricultural Policy and Strategies Specialist
Director General
Africa Rice Center (WARDA)

Monday, April 21, 2008


L’humanité est présentement face à une crise rizicole très aigue qui, à n’en point douter, constitue une menace sérieuse pour maintenir la paix sociale. A notre sens, Il ne s’agit nullement d’une surprise car vu le capital de connaissances accumulées par l’homme, il est difficile voir impossible de ne pas prévoir de tels phénomènes. Le Centre du riz pour l’Afrique (ADRAO) a, depuis au moins 02 ans, prédit une crise rizicole en Afrique à partir de 2008. La dernière alerte date du Conseil des Ministres des Etats membres tenu à Abuja en septembre 2007. Au cours de cette importante rencontre, le Directeur général de l’ADRAO avait fait une présentation intitulée «Crise rizicole en Afrique, mythe ou réalité ?». Il en était clairement ressorti que notre continent va vers de réelles difficultés d’approvisionnement. En effet, l’Afrique couvre 10 à 13 % de la population mondiale mais absorbe 32% des importations mondiales, et connaît un taux de croissance de sa consommation d’environ 4,5% par an. S’y ajoute le fait que les stocks mondiaux sont au plus bas niveau depuis 25 ans, avec moins de 2 mois de réserve dont la moitié se trouve en Chine. Il convient aussi de souligner que des modèles économétriques avaient également estimé que les prix de 2008 seraient au moins le double de ceux de 2002. Enfin, l’offre connaît un rétrécissement graduel. A titre d’exemple, un grand pays producteur comme la Chine a perdu 4 millions d’hectares en 10 ans et pourrait chercher 10 % de ses besoins sur les marchés internationaux, soit 35 % des quantités qui y sont commercialisées. C’est en fait l’équivalent de la part de l’Afrique actuellement.

Beaucoup d’initiatives ont été prises par la plupart des gouvernements africains. Mais force est de constater et de souligner, qu’à l’instar des autres parties du monde, rien n’a pu arrêter le phénomène.

La crise rizicole est structurelle, elle risque d’être longue et pénible car l’Asie est de moins en moins en mesure de nourrir le monde. Une analyse des 10 dernières années montre que la consommation mondiale augmente en moyenne de 1% par an et la productivité de 0,5 %. Par conséquent, cette crise serait l’effet cumulé de gaps enregistrés chaque année.

Nous avons une conviction : l’avenir de la riziculture se trouve en Afrique. Car ce continent, contrairement à l’Asie, a un potentiel immense non exploité repérable à travers ses vastes étendues de terres et ses ressources hydriques faiblement utilisées (Zambie, RDC, Sierra Leone, Mali, Sénégal, etc.). A titre illustratif, nous avons en Afrique au Sud du Sahara, 130 millions d’hectares de bas fonds dont 3,9 millions seulement sont en culture. Par contre en Asie, le pari n’est pas d’augmenter les superficies rizicoles mais plutôt de les maintenir. En outre, la compétitivité de la production du riz local en Afrique au Sud du Sahara est établie. Il suffit pour s’en convaincre de comparer les rendements obtenus en Thaïlande et au Vietnam, et ceux du Sénégal, du Mali et du Niger. Les préjugés concernant notre compétitivité-coût et notre compétitivité-qualité sont au « musée des idées périmées». Les problèmes sont ailleurs.

Il faut une rupture : l’Afrique doit dépasser la logique de gestion des urgences au profit d’une véritable rationalisation de sa réflexion sur le devenir et engager des actions concrètes de relance. Sous ce rapport, cette crise est plutôt une opportunité pour réfléchir autrement et agir autrement en vue de nous nourrir sur une base endogène et durablement. Par conséquent, une seule question se pose : quels sont les problèmes et que faire ?

A court terme, les mesures prises par certains gouvernements africains relatives à l’allègement de la fiscalité et à certains mécanismes visant la transparence des marchés sont fondées. Cependant, celles-ci doivent être plus ciblées en faveur des pauvres. En outre, ils doivent engager sans délai, une réflexion et mettre en place des actions à moyen et long terme. Car de plus en plus, les équations vont se poser en termes de disponibilité de la ressource que son accessibilité.

Sous ce registre, les éléments suivants peuvent être avancés :

1. Augmenter significativement la part de la riziculture irriguée à haut rendement dans la production. Actuellement les superficies irriguées en Afrique représentent moins de 10% contre plus de 50% en Asie. La riziculture irriguée permet à la fois d’obtenir des rendements très élevés (de 3 a 4 fois plus élevés par rapport au pluvial) et de faire la double culture.

2. Promouvoir l’utilisation des variétés telles que les NERICA (variété obtenue par l’ADRAO grâce à un croisement entre le riz africain et le riz asiatique). Le NERICA permet une augmentation sensible des rendements dans certains écosystèmes, un cycle plus court (moins de 50 jours comparé aux variétés traditionnelles) et une valeur en protéine plus élevée de 25% par rapport au riz importé. Il y a aujourd’hui 18 variétés de NERICA développées pour les plateaux et 60 pour les bas fonds qui sont homologuées dans 20 pays africains. La simplification et l’accélération des procédures d’homologation de ces variétés par l’ adoption des méthodes participatives préconisées par l’ADRAO, mérite d’être retenue dans tous les pays d’Afrique pour réduire de plusieurs années le processus d’adoption.

3. Améliorer l’accès aux semences améliorées : La disponibilité des semences est l’une des contraintes majeures à l’utilisation réussie des variétés améliorées telles que les NERICA. Face à un tel problème, il faut, entre autres, les mesures suivantes : (i) adopter des lois standard sur les semences et définir des mécanismes efficaces de contrôle et de certification de semences, et assurer leur application. (ii) Mettre en place un système de législation semencière pour encourager l’implication du secteur privé dans l’approvisionnement et le commerce des semences. (iii) Renforcer les Systèmes nationaux de recherche agricole (SNRA) pour la production des semences de pré-base et de semences de base.

4. Améliorer les pratiques culturales : L’ADRAO et ses partenaires ont mis en évidence la possibilité d’augmenter les rendements en milieu paysan à travers une gestion intégrée de la campagne rizicole en proposant des alternatives allant de la préparation du terrain jusqu’à la récolte. Des gains de rendement d’une à deux tonnes par hectare ont été obtenus en système irrigué et en bas-fonds, sans augmentation significative des coûts de production ; les améliorations se trouvent surtout au niveau de la gestion de la fertilité et la lutte contre les mauvaises herbes.

5. Diminuer les Pertes à la récolte et post-récolte : les pertes au niveau de la récolte et post-récolte (en quantité et en qualité) représentent 15 à 50% de la valeur marchande de la production. Par conséquent, la mise à la disposition des acteurs d’équipement performant et leur formation est le point de passage obligé pour réduire les pertes et améliorer la qualité ainsi que l’établissement des liens entre les différents acteurs intervenant dans la chaîne de valeur rizicole.

6. Fortifier les systèmes de recherche et de vulgarisation et leurs liens: la mise en place d’une plate-forme des acteurs rizicoles, d’un fonds d’appui au programme national rizicole et de financements adéquats aux systèmes de recherche et de vulgarisation rizicoles, nous semblent des axes majeurs à considérer.

7. Massifier le soutien aux acteurs de la filière rizicole: il y a un dérèglement du commerce international. Jusqu’à une année récente, les 11 000 riziculteurs américains recevaient des subventions d’une valeur de 1,4 milliards de dollars par an. Par contre, les 7 millions de riziculteurs africains continuent de se battre dans un marché libéralisé sans aucune subvention et avec un accès limité au crédit, aux intrants et à l’information sur le marché.

En fait, il y a une évidence : les acteurs ruraux africains, comme tous les autres collègues du monde, ont besoin de soutien conséquent.

8. Améliorer notre infrastructure pour diminuer le coût élevé des intrants : d’une manière générale, les prix des engrais en Afrique sont 2 à 6 fois plus élevés que ceux d’Asie, d’Europe et d’Amérique du Nord surtout liés aux coûts élevés des transports. Nous avons par conséquent, des limites objectives pour une intensification intelligente en vue de doper la productivité rizicole africaine.


L’Afrique doit comprendre qu’il lui faut assurer une offre rizicole suffisante en quantité, satisfaisante en qualité, rémunératrice pour les producteurs et supportable par le budget des consommateurs les plus pauvres. C’est à ce prix et à ce prix seulement qu’elle peut éviter d’être un “otage “ des cours mondiaux. Il n’y a pas de secret, on construit une agriculture compétitive et durable grâce à une combinaison intelligente de 03 facteurs : Technologies performantes, infrastructure de base et environnement assaini. Oui c’est possible d’inverser les tendances mais à moyen terme.

Dr. Papa A. Seck
Spécialiste en politique et stratégies agricoles
Directeur Général du Centre du riz pour l’Afrique (ADRAO)