Project Objective

In recognition of the sizeable opportunity represented by strengthening the domestic rice sector for job creation, improvement of smallholder incomes, food security, and reduced import dependence, Grow Africa has been working to support strong, well-functioning national rice value chain platforms with effective private sector participation in West Africa. Alongside this work, Grow Africa has been mobilizing investment into the region’s rice sector, totaling US$2 billion in investment commitments at the end of 2016.

There are a wide variety of factors that stifle rice production across West Africa, with each country experiencing a different set of circumstances. Nevertheless, there are some common issues that impede the growth of the domestic rice sector. These include:

  • Weak linkages between value chain actors
  • Inadequate irrigation
  • Low levels of mechanization
  • Low yields
  • Lack of milling capacity
  • Unreliable power access
  • Limited access to finance
  • Perceived higher quality of imported rice
  • Fragmented supply, dominated by smallholders

Weak levels of coordination and communication between the different elements of the rice value chain pose a significant obstacle to strengthening the domestic rice sector. Many of the issues faced by the rice sector are also deep-rooted and require a strong, concerted value chain-wide effort to address and advocate for effectively. Further, attracting much-needed finance to the rice sector requires a strong, well-aligned value chain.

Grow Africa’s approach to supporting rice value chain platforms is country-specific, adapted to the needs and existing level of organization of each country’s rice sector. Where a rice value chain platform already exists, Grow Africa is working to help strengthen and professionalise such platforms, and ensure that the private sector is participating effectively – in Nigeria, for example. In countries where such a platform does not yet exist, Grow Africa is working with local partners to establish an effective national platform, such as Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Senegal. Rice constitutes a priority value chain for Grow Africa’s work in Ghana, Senegal, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Benin, and Côte d’Ivoire.

Grow Africa has also fostered regional collaboration between national level bodies to help improve intra-regional rice trade, such as a partnership between Africa Rice, the John A. Kufour Foundation, and national bodies from Senegal (APIX), Burkina Faso (Bagré Pôle), and Côte d’Ivoire.

Grow Africa leverages strategic partnerships across West Africa to strengthen existing efforts, knowledge, and expertise in the rice sector. At the regional level, Grow Africa has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the JAK Foundation, CARI, and the German Development Agency (GiZ) to support the development of a stronger rice sector in West Africa through improved coordination of efforts. This collaboration will initially focus on Ghana, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, and Nigeria. Collaborative approaches are being developed with Africa Rice and the Africa Rice Advocacy Platform (ARAP).

Through all its work in this sector, Grow Africa includes and consults regularly with national government representatives and ECOWAS representatives at the regional level, to ensure strong public sector alignment and participation.

Rice represents the largest source of calories in West Africa, with consumption rapidly increasing due to high levels of population growth, urbanization, and changes in eating habits. Yet despite its strategic role, demand for this commodity far outstrips domestic supply, making the region a net importer of rice. In 2014, the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) countries imported approximately 9 million tons of milled rice at a cost of well over €4 billion.

Organisations working in the rice sector in West Africa are welcome to contact Grow Africa to explore opportunities for collaboration or involvement in Grow Africa’s rice sector work.



Ibrahim Gourouza
Etami Ndoping


Grow Africa and the Office National pour le Développement du Riz en Côte d’Ivoire (ONDR) launched the first inclusive national

In collaboration with regional rice organisations, Grow Africa has co-founded the Africa Rice Advocacy Platform (ARAP), a multi-country i

One of six fact sheets on market opportunities in rice, commissioned by Grow Africa. Covers; overview of rice production and consumption; value chain structure; opportunities for value addition.

View all Resources