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MAFAP Showcases Rice Results at the 4th International Conference of the African Association of Agricultural Economists (ICAAAE) in Tunisia

03 Oct 2013
Rice is becoming a key staple food in Africa, representing on average 8 percent of total caloric intake in 2009, the third most important component of the African diet after maize and root crops.

While production has more than doubled in the last 20 years, Africa remains highly dependent on imported rice, which covered on average 40 percent of domestic consumption from 2000-2010. African countries have implemented different policies with regards to rice, including import tariffs, input subsidies, regulated prices, and centralized purchases or releases by food security agencies.

On 23 September 2013, members of the MAFAP Secretariat were joined by country partners from Burkina Faso, Ghana and Uganda in Hammamet, Tunisia to facilitate a panel session at  the 4th International Conference of the African Association of Agricultural Economists (ICAAAE). The session showcased key results on rice from country level analyses as well as cross-country comparisons carried out at both the regional and continental level. Six presentations were delivered at the session according to the following structure:

  1. MAFAP project overview” [Ms. Federica Angelucci , FAO-MAFAP Secretariat]
  2. Results for an East African country: price incentives for the rice sector in Uganda” [Mr. Stephen Ojangole, National Agricultural Research Organisation, Uganda]
  3. Results for a West African country: price incentives for the rice sector in Ghana” [Mr. David Modzakah, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ghana]
  4. East Africa comparison: price incentives and policy coherence for the rice sector in Kenya, United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda” [Ms. Megan Witwer, FAO-MAFAP Secretariat]
  5. West Africa comparison: price incentives and policy coherence for the rice sector in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria and Mali” [Ms. Francine Ilboudo, Ministry of Agriculture, Burkina Faso]
  6. Price incentives for the rice sector in eight MAFAP pilot countries: Are African rice policies coherent?” [Ms. Federica Angelucci, FAO-MAFAP Secretariat]

As noted during the session, MAFAP has measured the impact of policies on price incentives for the rice sector in eight countries (Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, the United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda) during the period 2005-2010. Price incentives were measured at two points in the value chain – the main wholesale market in each country (considered a proxy for the effect of policies on consumers) and the farm gate (considered a proxy for the effect of policies on farmers).

Key findings presented include the following:

  • Rice prices in the countries studied were generally above import parity prices, which represent the prices that would prevail if policies were removed and overall market performance improved. Prices above the import parity generate price incentives for both farmers and wholesalers, but penalize consumers. This support was largely due to tariffs on rice imports and high access costs between the border to the main wholesale markets, but was often partially eroded by excessive costs borne by producers in bringing their product from farm gate to the wholesale market.
  • Throughout the period of analysis, we see that the average level of incentives decreased in most countries during, and in the years following, the food price crisis in 2007/08 as a result of the relaxation of import tariffs and market interventions by governments to assure that food prices were affordable for consumers.
  • At the wholesale level, prices in most countries were much higher than could be justified with the tariff and other border charges alone, which indicated that consumers were taxed more than they should have been due to market inefficiencies.
  • At the farm gate level, prices in many countries were nearly equal to the expected price with the tariff, indicating that the market was functioning efficiently. However, many countries also fell slightly below the expected price with the tariff, suggesting that market inefficiencies between the wholesale and farm gate reduced price incentives (support) to farmers.

The presentations were followed by an in-depth discussion, which focused on the importance of measuring support to both producers and consumers in order to better target policies, especially during food shortages; ongoing initiatives to coordinate efforts among donors and technical agencies that work on policy monitoring; and general positive feedback received for the strong partnerships established in participating countries to increase country ownership of MAFAP’s methodology and results.

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