High-quality rice for Africa

Project description

Title: Competitive African Rice Initiative (CARI II)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Co-funded by: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Countries: Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Tanzania
Lead executing agencies: Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Ministry of Agriculture Tanzania
Overall term: 2013 to 2021

Processing of paddy rice by local women's cooperatives


Rice is one of the most important staple foods in Africa. Demand is growing rapidly: the population is increasing, people are moving to the cities and consumer behaviour is changing. 90 per cent of locally grown rice is produced on small fields of less than one hectare. Local production does not meet the continent's rice needs. Furthermore, average yields in sub-Saharan Africa are the lowest in the world. There is a lack of knowledge about modern and sustainable cultivation methods, high-quality seeds, fertilisers and plant protection methods. The infrastructure needed to facilitate efficient storage, transport and processing is also inadequate.

Most of the rural population in the rice-growing areas live at or below the poverty line. The rice producers’ income and food situation are inadequate. Protein, vitamin and micronutrient deficiencies are a common consequence.


Smallholder farmers have increased their incomes and provide their families and the entire region with high-quality rice.

Quality control in rice production


The project is co-financed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and implemented in four African countries: Nigeria, Ghana, Burkina Faso and Tanzania. This is done in collaboration with local organisations, the Kilimo Trust and the John A. Kufuor Foundation. Moreover, partnerships with business mean that local partners are closely involved in implementing the project, so that long-term results are achieved. The project trains smallholder farmers to use good agricultural practices and make rice cultivation more productive.

Local processing and marketing companies establish long-term supply relationships with smallholder farmers to ensure a supply of high-quality paddy rice.

Mechanisation of the rice harvest

The result is a stable value chain that links up input suppliers, rice farmers, mill operators and retailers. Smallholder farmers receive pre-financed resources from rice mills or equipment dealers to buy high-quality inputs such as seeds and fertilisers at the right time. Combined with modern, sustainable cultivation methods, this allows smallholder farmers to produce higher volumes of better quality paddy rice. Mill operators process it into high-quality rice that benefits local consumers.     

Additional information