Photo: Mr. Ahamidé Samson of Jinukuja (rice trading company) uses eProd to monitor activities in rice fields.
Since the 1970s, the demand for rice in Africa has tripled. Rice is increasingly replacing other staple foods such as maize, cassava, and sorghum. Despite various initiatives in the rice sector, productivity remains low throughout the African continent, especially in West African countries, and covers only 60% of demand. Covid-19 has only increased the instability of rice production in the region. The GIZ-funded, COVID-19 Response Rice Seed Project (CORIS) brings AfricaRice and eProd Solutions together to ensure the introduction of improved rice varieties continues even during the pandemic.
The Covid-19 pandemic, resulting in export restrictions, border closures, and travel restrictions, has jeopardized the already weakened rice sector in West Africa. To address this situation, a transnational working group of map4Rice’s Green Innovation Centers designed the COVID-19 Response Rice Seed Project (CORIS) with the objective of improving food security in West Africa and establish an independent, high-quality rice seed system to address other challenges such as climate change and yield instability.
Africa Rice, a member of the Map4Rice working group and a research center of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), is responsible for coordinating and implementing Project CORIS. CORIS entered its operational phase in October 2020 through the production of pre-basic seed, basic seed, and certified seed. To date, CORIS has supported the production of 27,000 tons of high-quality, certified seed in five West African countries – Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Mali, and Nigeria.
Last year, the supply chain management platform eProd was introduced to 40 rice traders in the same countries. Together with AfricaRice, the rice traders assisted in bulking improved rice varieties and introducing quality seeds to tens of thousands of rice farmers. eProd’s software solution provides rice traders with traceability tools to track the various generations of seed production through to commercial production. In addition, the eProd platform offers traders a one-stop solution to manage all supply chain activities including farmer contracts, field inspection, communication, training, and other options.
In addition to AfricaRice, eProd, and the 40 rice trading companies involved in the project, CORIS brings together partners from national research centers, international rice development and promotion platforms including INRAB (Benin), GIZ (Benin, Mali, Nigeria, and Burkina Faso), and INERA (Burkina Faso). Other partners include the Burkina Faso Ministry of Agriculture, MOVE Nigeria, commercial partner PRO GRAIN, and others from agriculture insurance and banking.
On March 26-31, 2022, CORIS partners will meet in Bouaké, Ivory Coast, to review ongoing activities in the project countries, draw lessons learned, and establish perspectives for future activities to strengthen the rice sector in West Africa further.
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