The Head of the Agriculture Division of the ECOWAS Commission, Ernest Aubee has declared the commissions will in backing the sub-regional body’s goal to make West Africa self-sufficient in rice production.
According to him, the Rice Offensive Program (ROP) which has the objective to ensure self-sufficiency in rice production in West Africa by 2025 is progressing steadily with just a few outstanding issues.
“The critical issues are how to maintain the gains made: policy and public angles, investment in technologies and distribution networks, and support farmers in input seed extension and research,” he observed.
Mr Aubee made the observation when he paid a courtesy call on the Chief Executive Officer of the John A. Kufuor Foundation, Prof. Baffour Agyeman Duah in Accra.
Currently, Ghana, Nigeria and Burkina Faso are ECOWAS countries benefiting from the Competitive Africa Rice Initiative (CARI) which is funded by the German government’s international development organisation (GIZ).
CARI works to improve upon the livelihoods of smallholder rice farmers in Africa.
The Head of the Agriculture Division for ECOWAS, hence, disclosed that GIZ has committed to upscaling CARI in all ECOWAS member countries.
He praised the foundation’s efforts in helping build a strong rice value chain in Ghana and other African countries.
He also disclosed that ECOWAS was developing an ECOWAS rice fact book to track happenings in the rice sector per country.
Mr Aubee, therefore, urged the foundation to enrol all 16 West African states onto ARAP to build on sub-regional gains of the ECOWAS Rice Offensive Programs and other interventions in the sector.