Rikolto joins Tanzania’s Rice Taskforce

Picture by Philippe Leyssens.

Rice is the daily staple food of 3.5 billion people. One out of 5 persons on our planet earns a living from rice. And demand is rising sharply, due to demographics, urbanisation and changing food habits. Rice is also a very popular staple food in Tanzania. An average Tanzanian consumes roughly 25 kg of rice every year.

The government of Tanzania is now recognising rice as an important element of food security and income for the region. Almost half of the consumed rice is imported to meet the high demand for rice in the region. To decrease the financial burden imports are putting on the already weak economies, the Tanzanian government set up a strategy to further develop the rice production in the country: the National Rice Development Strategy II (NRDS II).

This strategy is very much needed, because 70% of rice areas in Tanzania are not efficiently used, especially compared to rice fields in Asia. There is a huge potential for increasing the yields left in the untapped land and in improving irrigation systems. Thinking big: Tanzania could even produce enough quality rice to meet the regional demand and export to the whole continent.

Joining the taskforce gives us an opportunity to upscale some of the innovative solutions we have piloted.
David Leyssens Regional Director of Rikolto in East Africa

Living up to this potential is of course not a one-person job. That’s why a whole taskforce was created to provide technical assistance for the NRDS II implementation. The taskforce consists of secretariat members, government agency representatives, and other stakeholders appointed by Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Gerald M. Kusaya.

Rikolto will join this taskforce at the request of Mr. Kusaya, because we firmly believe that it gives us an opportunity to upscale some of the innovative solutions we have piloted. We will continue to focus our contribution to the strategy’s implementation on the promotion of the Sustainable Rice Production (SRP) and Quality Management System (QMS) initiatives. These initiatives aim at making rice production sustainable and transform family farmers into future-proof entrepreneurs.

Cover picture by Philippe Leyssens