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Japan supports Tanzania, Kenya and Senegal to develop efficient and inclusive rice value chains

FAO Representative to Tanzania, Fred Kafeero, officiating the workshop

The Government of Japan through its Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is supporting sub-Saharan African countries including Tanzania, Senegal and Kenya to develop efficient and inclusive rice value chains for rural transformation.

Through the ‘Development of efficient and inclusive rice value chains in selected African countries’ project that is implemented with technical support of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the aim is to provide guidance for public sector policy making and private sector investment to rice value chains in Africa.

Improve understanding on the role of rice millers

Speaking in Dar es Salaam during the official opening of a regional workshop on ‘Leveraging small and medium rice millers for rural transformation and investment in the rice sector in Africa’, FAO’s Agribusiness Development Consultant, Sonja Barwitzki, said that the project aims to improve the understanding of the key role that the rice subsector plays in the economy.

“The aim is to improve the understanding on the role of rice millers in rural transformation, in particular on smallholder farmers’ linkages, employment generation, rice commercialization, rice value chain upgrading, food safety and nutrition,” she said.  

According to Ms. Barwitzki, the aim of the project is to address the knowledge gap in the middle segment of the rice value chain for selected Coalition for African Rice Development countries of Kenya, Tanzania and Senegal.

The objective of the workshop is to build understanding on the role and needs, including the investment needs of rice millers to accelerate rural transformation and to increase impact and experience sharing, participants from six other African countries namely; Benin, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Nigeria, and Uganda are expected to attend, she added.  

The agenda has been designed to create a space for sharing research results with relevant stakeholders and experts from both public and private sector and inviting them to actively exchange knowledge and expertise, considering policy options and strategies.

Furthermore, the workshop will facilitate the development of actions plans in order to advance the rice-processing sector for rice value chain upgrading in Africa. The participants will form working teams to work through sessions exchanging public and private sector perspectives on targeted

The results of the workshop will lead to guidance on the public sector on policy, legal and investment frameworks needed to upgrade the role of SMEs in linking smallholders to rice value chains in Africa; and to the private sector on responsible and inclusive domestic and foreign investment mechanisms in food value chains.

Importance of rice 

Speaking while officiating the workshop, FAO Representative to Tanzania, Fred Kafeero, said that the importance of rice in ensuring food security could not be overstated.

“Rice is a staple crop in many countries including Tanzania. Many people, especially in growing cities depends on rice as a food security crop and also a source of income. Therefore the rice millers and all other value chain actors are key the realization of the crop’s value into the economy,” he said.

Rice is the second most important food crop after maize in the Mainland and first food crop in Zanzibar and in Africa, Tanzania is the second main rice producer after Madagascar.