Mar 28, 2011


Opportunities to Increase Rice Production in Africa

  • Mar 28, 2011
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  • Donors and governments have been reluctant to invest in large-scale irrigation in sub-Saharan Africa because of high investment costs and declining rice prices. It doesn't help that the performance of some large-scale gravity irrigation projects led by governments in Asia has been declining. 

    But the conditions for growing irrigated rice have improved in sub-Saharan Africa, according to a new working paper by Yuko Nakano, Ibrahim Bamba, Aliou Diagne, Keijiro Otsuka, and Kei Kajisa. The price of rice has risen, and reforms in African countries have changed the institutional and policy environment for growing rice in large irrigation schemes. 

    There are attractive opportunities to raise the productivity of rice, which requires adequate irrigation, chemical fertilizers and labor. Currently, chemical fertilizer is expensive, especially in Uganda and Mozambique. In addition, farmers often have unreliable access to water, which is required for both fertilizers and irrigation. In large irrigation schemes in four Sahelian countries of West Africa's Sahel region, which offers easy access to water, rice farmers achieve attractive yields when they have governmental and non-governmental support for chemical fertilizer. 

    In places where wage rates are high, mechanization can help. Improved access to credit can facilitate the purchase of fertilizer or the hiring of labor. The research draws on household survey data from a variety of large-scale irrigation schemes in Burkina Faso, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Senegal, and Uganda.

    By World Bank Organization

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