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“Rice Science for Food Security through Smallholder and Agri-business Development in Africa” is the theme of the Third Africa Rice Congress to be held from October 21-24, 2013, in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

 

The Congress will bring together representatives from the public and private sector, civil society organizations, farmer associations and research and extension communities engaged in the development of Africa’s rice sector.

The Congress will take stock of advances in rice science and technology aimed at improving production, processing and marketing practices across the rice value chain in Africa. It will also provide opportunity to discuss institutional innovations, policies and key investments needed to significantly increase rice production, processing and marketing in sub-Saharan Africa, thereby developing competitive and equitable rice value chains, reducing imports and enhancing regional trade.
The Africa Rice Congress will be organized by the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice) in collaboration with the Government of Cameroon.
Cameroon spent FCFA 96.7 billion on rice importation in 2012. It was the sum authorities paid to import 366,600 tons of rice in the first half of 2012. Since 2004, the demand for rice has kept rising and supply of locally produced rice dwindling.
What is more disturbing is the fact that the country has enormous arable land fertile enough for rice cultivation.
Cameroon possesses 240,000 hectares of cultivable land. Unfortunately, barely 25,000 hectares have been developed, 13,000 of which are for the Yagoua Rice Production agro industry (SEMRY), 3,000 for the Noun Valley Development Authority (UNVDA) and the rest shared between Santchou, Nanga Eboko, and Kousseri among others, according to Business Cameroon.
Continentally, Africa in 2009 imported 10 million tons of milled rice, at a cost of US$ 5 billion. With high food and fuel prices predicted to last well into the current decade, relying on imports is no longer a sustainable strategy.
This Congress will allow debating technological and institutional innovations, policies and partnerships needed to ensure that rice sector development becomes a veritable engine for smallholder and agri-business development and economic growth in Africa, contributing to food security, reducing imports and creating employment along the value chain.
The Africa Rice Congress will equally provide a platform to discuss rice science and technology aimed at improving rice production, processing and marketing along the value chain whilst preserving environmental services and coping with climate change.
It shall provide a platform for development organizations, farmer associations, civil society, private sector and research organizations to communicate and interact for greater and equitable impact on food security and value chain development.

 

                                                                                                                                                   Victor NDZE

 

Mise à jour le Vendredi, 05 Juillet 2013 09:40
 

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