Rice is a staple crop that has been grown in West Africa for more than 3500 years, since the domestication of African rice (Oryza glaberrima). Produced by low-income smallholders across the entire region, rice plays a key role in regional food security for rural and urban populations. In recent years, increasing demand stemming from population growth and steady increases in annual per capita consumption has outpaced production, leading to ever-increasing rice imports from Asia, accounting for 46% of total rice consumption in 2017.
As rice production is practiced across the entire region in all climate zones and is dominantly rainfed, key risks from the increasing variability of climate events will result in the disruption of the growing season calendars, shortening of the cropping season, and exacerbated dry spells, droughts, and heatwaves. It will also create greater likelihoods of floods, shortage of irrigation water, strong winds and storms, and changes in incidences and geographic range of pests and diseases – all of which can lead to substantial rice yield reductions or crop failure.
By using the Climate-Resilient Rice Production (CRRP) approach proposed on this project, the Rice Offensive can address several critical challenges simultaneously: respond to increasing rice consumption needs, strengthen livelihoods of rice farming communities, allow for diversification of economic activities along the rice value chain, improve the overall national economic well-being, free up hard currency – previously used for rice imports – for other national needs, and contribute to political stability. Promoting adaptation to the climate change threats.
The RICOWAS project preparation has taken the SRI-WAAPP results into account and is designed to build on these achievements. The RICOWAS project will focus on scaling up CRRP as an adaptation measure to different and location-specific climate threats. It will also contribute directly to the objectives of the Rice Offensive as specified in the Regional Agricultural Policy for West Africa (ECOWAP) of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
The global objective of the project is to improve climate resilience and increase rice system productivity of smallholder rice farmers across West Africa using a climate-resilient rice production approach. The project aims to reach around 153,000 rice growers and indirectly benefit around 1.5 million people.
- Cornell Chronicle, December 7, 2021 : $14M grant to adapt West African rice production to climate
|Project Component 1: Strengthen human and institutional capacity in CRRP
|Project Component 2: Assist farmers to scale-up CRRP
|Project Component 3: Strengthen communication, advocacy and partnerships to scale-up CRRP
|Project execution cost (including M&E)
|Total project cost (execution included)
|OSS management fee