Rice can improve nutrition, increase incomes, arrest food insecurity and improve the wellbeing of families in East Africa.
The East Africa Rice Conference 2021 slated for 18th May to 20th May has underscored the critical economic and social potential of rice to farmers, processors, marketers and consumers. The conference, attended by governments, development partners, the civil society, youth and farmers groups, researchers, donors, investors, and the private sector delved into deliberations on challenges and opportunities along the rice value chain. The deliberations are relevant to the Centre for African Bio-entrepreneurship (CABE) as it works to share knowledge to enhance the skills of smallholder farmers, women and youth entrepreneurs in Kenya to advance their meaningful participation in agriculture and agribusiness activities.
The conference attended by participants from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and Ethiopia discussed how rice research and development can enhance inclusive markets and value chains for the achievement of rice-based livelihoods. The conference also explored gender and youth integration to achieve an integrated rice sector development in a changing climate.
The conference was organized by CABE in collaboration with the Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) Programme of the Future Agricultures Consortium, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the Coalition for African Rice Development (CARD), the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice).
“This gathering of rice farmers, key stakeholders, county and national governments is useful since the shared experiences will inform a strategy that will enrich the value chain of rice which is the third most important cereal after maize and wheat,” says Mr. Josephat Gathiru, speaking on behalf of Prof. Hamadi Iddi Boga, Principal Secretary, State Department for Agricultural Research, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries & Cooperatives (MoALF&C) – Kenya.
Mr. Robert Kitene, speaking on behalf of the CEO of Council of Governors, Mrs. Jacqueline Mogeni, reiterated that the conference attended by county and national government officials is a big step towards the operationalization of the counties’ rice strategies not only in Kenya but across the region.