The Rice Race: Making Self-Sufficiency a Reality in West Africa


As part of the tenth African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF), a pre-session on rice self-sufficiency in West Africa will take place on 7 September 2020 from 11:15 to 12:45 CET.


3.5 billion people rely on rice as a daily staple and 19% of dietary energy globally is met through rice. The need for increased resilience and food security has taken on a new significance in the wake of COVID-19, since the region’s ability to meet increasing demand through local production slipped and West Africa relies on Asia for 40-50% of rice imports.

Developing local rice cultivation as a route to food self-sufficiency in thriving rural areas form a central pillar of several regional and government policies across West & Central Africa, but many obstacles and challenges remain. Making a reality of these aspirations has become even more pressing after the COVID-19 put a hold on international trade.


The Rice Race draws together change-makers from government, agri-inputs, donor partners, trade and production to set out the solutions needed for rice self-sufficiency and meet the ECOWAS target of reducing rice imports to zero by 2025. The session will explore how cultivation and agronomy for smallholder farmers, the rice value chain actors, and government and regional policy can be aligned to make a reality of self-sufficiency in West Africa.



  • Alain Sy Traoré, Director Agriculture & Rural Development, ECOWAS
  • Dr Abu Karim, Minister of Agriculture, Government of Sierra Leone
  • Wolfgang Bertenbreiter, Interim Head of Programme, Comptetitive African Rice Initiative, GIZ
  • Jai Shroff, Global CEO, UPL Ltd
  • Haija Salamatu Garba, Executive Director, Women Farmers Advancement Network
  • Ernest Aubee, Head of Agriculture, ECOWAS


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