Development of rice production technologies in Africa
In Africa, delays in economic development and high population growth have given rise to poverty and food shortages. The volume of rice imports from Asia and North America has increased annually due to the rapid rise of consumption that exceeds production. Meanwhile, local farmers’ techniques and knowledge of rice cultivation being deficient and the aid system and research to support such farmers’ activities likewise insufficient, technological progress and increase in rice production are not yet assured.
The Yokohama Statement at the Tokyo International Conference on African Development in 2008 declared that, "African rice production will need to be doubled in the next decade." The “Coalition for African Rice Development (CARD)” was established to realize that statement and JIRCAS has participated as a member of the Steering Committee since its inception.
This project is composed of three research subjects; the content of each as follows:
- A research will focus on offering new materials obtained by evaluating or improving the existing genetic resources of upland and lowland rice that are suitable for African field conditions. Efforts will be directed to reduce the losses caused by the lack of phosphate fertilizers or by rice blast, and to boost rice production.
- The project will develop a low life cycle cost paddy infrastructure technology, an Asian-type rice cultivation system and a paddy field model suitable for African conditions. Likewise, support will be extended to enable local farmers to easily recreate Asian-type irrigated paddy fields that are bunded, levelled and puddled, and carry out paddy rice cultivation (Fig. 1, 2).
- To expand rice cultivation in areas which used to be flood plains, the project will develop a technology for effective rice production in river basins (Fig. 3).
Likewise, efforts are underway to build a framework of cooperation or launch a joint research project, so that the governments concerned or the international organizations can utilize the outputs of research with full confidence for their own projects, investigations and extension promotions. The goal of this project is to achieve the main target of CARD that endeavors to double rice production in Africa within ten years.