Competitive African Rice Initiative (CARI) II

Project description

Title: Supporting the African rice value chain (Competitive African Rice Initiative, CARI II)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Countries: Various African countries; based in Nigeria
Lead executing agencies: Agricultural ministries in Nigeria, Ghana, Burkina Faso and Tanzania
Overall term: 2018 to 2021

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CARI phase II is the follow-up project to CARI I, which was commissioned by the BMZ in December of 2013 and completed in June 2018. The second phase is implemented by the GIZ in cooperation with Kilimo Trust and the John A. Kufuor Foundation, focusing on four major outputs: increased experience sharing amongst actors of the rice value chain; sustainably improved inclusive business relations; improved access to financial services for actors of the rice value chain; and improved policy framework for the rice value chain. The partner countries are Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania and Burkina Faso. To support organisational exchange and coordination of development organisations such as the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) is co-financing the programme. The programme is managed from a regional coordination office based in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria.


In phase II, 48,000 low-income rice farmers in Nigeria, Ghana, Burkina Faso and Tanzania have become more competitive and enjoy greater access to markets. Incomes are increasing significantly.

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To assist the rice farmers, the programme is supporting both a sustainable increase in the intensity of small-scale rice cultivation and the development of inclusive business models. Such models improve access to equipment and services, and create a more stable market for produce. Consumers are thereby able to purchase rice more efficiently and enjoy better quality rice. The programme is applying various business models to achieve widespread increases in income. CARI’s core human capacity development tools also include delivering Good Agricultural Practices and Sustainable Rice Platform training to farmers. 

The programme also develops innovative solutions for information and communication technology (ICT), to support farmers.


CARI II works in close cooperation with a broad-based consortium of stakeholders from the public and private sectors, research institutions, national and international foundations, non-governmental organisations and development organisations. Such cooperation fosters cross-learning, joint activity implementation, knowledge and experience exchange on the national and regional policy level supporting all value chain actors. This also promotes regional integration, synergy with the objectives for productivity and profitability and secures the sustainability of the project while achieving a broad-based impact. By doing this, the programme allows for the creation of a solid basis for common policy advocacy and avoids duplication and fragmentation.

The programme’s primary instrument is the matching fund. It leverages public and private investments of local business and organisations. Through this scheme, rice processors are also supported with training on business techniques for better rice marketing, contract farming, and access to finance as well as training to improve milling efficiency which results in better quality and quantity of rice paddies.   

One of the approaches CARI uses to achieve its objectives is multi-actor partnerships (MAP). The concept allows for regional initiatives and policies to be harmonised, while reinforcing coordination amongst actors in the rice value chain in different countries. A Memorandum of Understanding has already been established with AGRA for cooperation on matching funds to promote inclusive business models and achieve corresponding broad impact. BMGF is co-financing CARI to promote organisational exchange and coordination support. Other partners include NEPAD, CAADP,  GrowAfrica, AfDB, Africa Rice Centre, EAC, ECOWAS, JICA, and more.

CARI I was a fundamental success. The program reached 143,903 low-income farmers in the four countries. This resulted in 750,348 direct and indirect beneficiaries whose income increased and food security improved. 173,663 smallholder farmers received training in Good Agricultural Practices, and 137,281 in Farmers Business School. Following the trainings, a remarkable increase in yield per hectare was recorded (up to 136 per cent on irrigated and 185per cent on rain-fed fields). The programme’s training approach is gender sensitive. More than 42,000 women were trained on nutrition and 30,000 on parboiling techniques. 

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