Nigeria: better rice harvests mean more food and higher income

Smallholder farmers in Nigeria are increasing their income with the help of an international rice initiative. Higher yields and better quality are making the country less dependent on expensive rice imports.

Nigeria is by far the most populous country in Africa, yet too little rice is produced to feed the rapidly growing population. The country therefore imports much of its rice, but as a result this staple has become too expensive for many Nigerians.

The Competitive African Rice Initiative (CARI), a project to support the African rice value chain, aims to increase rice production in Nigeria and at the same time help low-income smallholder farmers. To achieve these goals, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Walmart Foundation have teamed up with non-governmental local organisations and companies. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is implementing the project in collaboration with local partners.

In Nigeria, CARI is already working successfully with around 76,000 farmers and rice processors. Since the project was launched in 2013, CARI rice farmers have doubled their harvests and significantly improved the quality of their rice. And this has paid off: the income earned by smallholder farmers increased on average almost threefold between 2013 and 2016.

In addition to Nigeria, the initiative is also being implemented in Burkina Faso, Ghana and Tanzania. By mid-2018, CARI hopes to be working with 150,000 farmers and rice processors in all four countries.

To find out exactly how the initiative is supporting smallholder farmers in Nigeria, have a look at the new text in our feature projects section: ‘Higher income for rice farmers in Nigeria’.