The Competitive African Rice Initiative (CARI), a four-year project, was introduced in 2014 to enhance the livelihoods of small-scale rice farmers in four African countries, namely, Ghana, Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Tanzania.

Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and the German Federal Ministry for Cooperation and Economic Development (BMZ), CARI is implemented by the German Development Cooperation (GIZ), the John A. Kufuor Foundation, Technoserve (TNS) of Ghana and Kilimo Trust (KT) of Tanzania.

The project aims to increase substantially the income of local rice farmers in the selected countries through their integration into competitive and sustainable business models.

Four key components and results for the project are:

•          Increased productivity and quality of paddy rice based on the development of substantial and competitive rice production systems.

•          Increased efficiency of local rice sourcing, processing and marketing through structured value chain linkages, improved technology and process management

•          Improved access to financial services for all value chain actors served, and

•          Improved enabling policy environment for rice sector development.

The Foundation is the sole implementer of Component 4 in the four countries. The Indicators which the Foundation has a responsibility for are as follows:

•          Engagement of members in rice  industry associations has increased

•          Private sector interests are reflected in national rice strategies, policies and/or programs

•          Recommendations of national sector organizations regarding ecological compatibility are reflected in government decisions

the Ghana Standards Authority to put in place the first ‘Paddy Rice Standard’ and revised the ‘Milled Rice Standard’ in Ghana.

•          Supported the re-organization of GRIB which has led to an increase in members from 9,500 to 13,300 value chain members.

•          Inaugurated a pilot Ghana Rice Business Center (GRBC) to support rice farmers with inputs and machinery at subsidized prices.

•          GRIB has been able to revive the Ghana Rice Festival with the support of CARI. Two festivals were successfully organized and this has created awareness of quality Ghana rice brands in the country and increased consumption of Ghana rice.

•          Value chain analyses and policy recommendations for the rice sector are published

•          Organizational capacity of JAK and Kilimo Trust

During the year the Foundation carried out some key CARI activities and achieved the following results:

GHANA

•          Supported the Ghana Rice Inter-professional

Body (GRIB) and

NIGERIA

•          Ten state level Policy Advocacy platforms established, as well as one at the national level.

•          Voice of the private sector in relation to access to finance, extension services, post-harvest losses and solution to impacts of climate change have been included in the Nigeria Agriculture Sector Policy Roadmap, 2016.

TANZANIA

•          Worked with the Rice Council of Tanzania (RCT) and the Government on a campaign to ban rice imports into the country.

•          Government tightened security at border points and along coastal areas to curb smuggling of rice.

•          The project has supported the recruitment of members for the RCT

BURKINA FASO

•          Supported the validation of members of the Comite Interprofesionale du riz du Burkina (CIR-B), leading to the increase of membership and dues payment covering office costs from 5% to 25% coverage.

Africa Regional level Achievements

Perhaps, the most significant outcome of CARI during the year has been the formation of the Africa Rice Advocacy Platform (ARAP). This resulted from efforts of the Foundation to convince the participating countries to accept a common platform for advocacy for local rice production and consumption.

African Rice Advocacy Platform (ARAP) has been formed and registered by the four founding countries to deal with issues like cross-border trade, tariffs and intra-Africa Rice Network with the aim of ensuring rice sustainability in Africa. The Foundation hosts the headquarters of ARAP.

Membership increased from four to 11 countries:

Ghana, Tanzania, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Benin, Togo, Mali, L’ Cote d’Ivoire, Niger, Uganda and South Sudan.

The maiden meeting was held in Ghana on the 6th October, 2016.