Coalition for African Rice Development gears up for second phase
The Coalition for African Rice Development (CARD) was launched by the NEPAD Agency, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and JICA on the margins of the fourth Tokyo International Conference for African Development in May 2008. CARD was established with the intention of doubling Africa’s rice production in ten years from 14 to 28 million tons by 2018, thereby closing the demand-supply gap and contributing to food security as well as poverty reduction on the continent.
CARD’s seventh general meeting was hosted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Tokyo, Japan on 4 October. Grow Africa was represented at the meeting by its Head of West and Central Africa, Mr Ibrahim Gourouza.
The seventh general meeting served as a platform to review progress of the CARD initiative, take stock of achievements and identify challenges encountered in the first 10-year phase. The meeting also sought to develop consensus on paving the way forward for the second phase of the initiative which begins in 2019. In its first phase, the CARD initiative saw the participation of 23 countries as well as core stakeholders active in the research, policy and finance environments. Overall, rice production increased by 81% during the period in question, an impressive feat taking into account the original target set. The experiences and gains registered in the inaugural phase have set a firm foundation for the second phase of CARD which will span a period of 12 years, starting in 2019 and concluding in 2030 with the continued aim of further doubling rice production. This increase in production will be critical to address the anticipated growth in continental rice consumption as well as to reduce rice imports in order to attain food self-sufficiency.
The second phase of the CARD will see the addition of nine new countries, the World Food Programme as well as Africa’s Regional Economic Communities. This expansion is encouraging and will bolster ongoing efforts in the space.
Mr Gourouza delivered a keynote address and also took part in the panel discussions covering topics related to the engagement of the private sector in rice regional value chain development. The Country Agribusiness Partnership Framework (CAP-F) – a CAADP country engagement and partnership tool developed to support the formation of agribusiness partnerships with the intent of unlocking private sector investment – was also presented to stakeholders, within the wider context of agribusiness development across Africa.
A key outcome of the meeting was the selection of the NEPAD Agency to assume the position of Chair of the CARD Steering Committee which is currently comprised of 11 strategic CARD partners. This is a welcome development that will further cement the role of NEPAD in critical processes pertaining to agricultural development on the continent with particular emphasis on the rice sector.