Sunday, May 26, 2024
SocietyStakeholders urge gov’t to implement existing rice strategy

Stakeholders urge gov’t to implement existing rice strategy

Participants of “the East Africa Rice Conference 2021” urged the Ethiopian government to implement the existing rice strategy that aim to promote the sector and increase support to rice farmers through research and development.

Dawit Alemu (PhD), country lead of the Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) Program in Ethiopia, indicated that an increase in the demand for rice is expected as some rice exporting countries such as India and Pakistan have put in place export bans.

“The rice market in Ethiopia has increased from time to time and farmers and processors are enjoying higher prices, especially in recent years as inflation of other food items has paved the way for the use of domestic rice,” Dawit said.

Apart from producing rice for commercial purposes, rice has increasingly become one of the regular food items in Ethiopia, especially in rice growing parts of the country such as Fogera Woreda of the Amhara Regional State.

Kiyoshi Shiratori, JICA’s Chief Advisor for Ethio-Rice project, underscored that apart from the commercial purpose, farmers in rice growing areas such as Fogera are enjoying injera produced from rice flour.

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According to Kiyoshi, it is commendable that the Ethiopian government has enacted a strategy to promote rice and tried to support rice farmers through research and development by establishing a rice specific research and training center in Fogera. 

For Dawit, it is a pity that domestic rice farmers are not taking full advantage of the opportunities that come with the increasing demand for rice. He noted that among the main challenges is limited effort to expand the cultivation of rice to potential areas.

Currently, there are only seven rice cultivation hubs throughout the country, and the area covered with rice even in these hubs is limited. Thus, Dawit recommends, the government in collaboration with other stakeholders, needs to work on expanding and promoting rice production in different parts of the country.  

Even though producing quality rice requires high production and management skills, there is an incentive for rice farmers to produce due to the fact that the market of rice for injera, which does not require high quality rice grains, is growing.

The National Rice Research and Development Strategy (NRRDS) has recognized seven regional rice research and development hubs in the country. These are: Fogera, Pawi, Abobo, Gura Fereda, May Tsebri, Gode and Chewaka hub.

The East Africa Rice Conference 2021, an event organized by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and other organizations working on rice, was held virtually earlier this week.

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