The Rice Emergency Initiative (2009-2010) was funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) West Africa Mission as a component of the Food Security and Crisis Mitigation Program. The program was established by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) secretariat at the World Bank. The Rice Emergency Initiative was created to boost rice production in Ghana, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal in order to mitigate potential rice shortages in these countries. The program was led by the Africa Rice Center (WARDA) and implemented by IFDC, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and the national agricultural research and extension institutions of the four countries involved. IFDC also coordinated with numerous regional organizations, government agencies, farmer organizations and private businesses in the implementation of this program.
The program targeted 10,000 rice farmers in each of the nations of Ghana, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal – all member countries of the Africa Rice Center. The project boosted total domestic rice production and improved access for the 40,000 farmers to certified rice seed and quality fertilizer while expanding knowledge of current rice production technologies and best practices. IFDC provided timely and affordable access to these inputs through voucher programs and seed fairs, utilizing existing distribution channels including the private sector, government agencies and non-governmental organizations such as CRS. Once armed with their inputs, targeted farmers were trained in modern rice crop technologies through both field training and informational videos. Through community outreach programs such as rural radio and TV broadcasts, current rice production technologies also reached other farmers not directly involved in the program.
The Rice Emergency Initiative focused on the following areas:
- In-field demonstrations of fertilizer best practices among targeted farmers.
- Facilitating linkages with other projects in the region that focused on access to quality inputs, specifically mineral fertilizers, and utilized voucher systems.
- Training in, and coordination of, input distribution systems.
- Training of farmer organizations and the private sector on agribusiness management and marketing, along with fertilizer best management practices.