The increase in global rice trade over the past 20 years is primarily a consequence of rising demand in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly West Africa. The sub-region is a major import hub led by Nigeria, which imports 5.2 million tonnes of rice annually.
Demand for white rice among West African consumers is growing. Despite an annual production of around 13 million tonnes in 2011, the region still imports 40 percent of its rice needs.
Although the potential in West Africa is enormous including favourable production costs of local rice over those of the major rice producing countries, the rice sector in the sub-region suffers from inefficiencies related to low productivity and the high cost of processing and marketing.
The APRAO project is well placed in this context, given its focus on building capacities in the entire rice value chain, and covering the three major rice ecologies of the sub-region namely rain-fed, lowland and irrigated rice.
For more information on the rice sector in the target countries click on the country links.