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  • Rice is a type of grass (genus Oryza) that belongs to a family of plants that includes other cereals such as
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    Rice as a plant

  • Rice is the most important human food crop in the world, directly feeding more people than any other crop. In 2012,
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    Rice as a crop

  • Cultivating rice is the – and source of income – for millions of households around the globe. Rice is grown in more than
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    Rice as commodity

  • Rice is the most important food crop of the developing world and the staple food of more than half of the
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    Rice as food

  • Challenges

    Challenges

    For every one billion people added to the world’s population, 100 million more tons of rice need to be produced each year. But the challenges facing rice production are great. Read More
  • Culture

    Culture

    Rice is a central part of many cultures – some countries even credit rice cultivation with the development of their civilization. It is remarkable that almost every culture has its own way of harvesting, processing and eating rice and these different traditions are, in fact, part of the world's cultural heritage. Read More
  • Rice around the world

    Rice around the world

    Following are detailed descriptions of selected rice-producing countries in rice regions (Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean [LAC], Africa, North America, and Europe). Of the top 10 countries in the world during 2005-09, nine are in Asia, in order: China, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand, Philippines, and Japan. Completing the top 10 Asian countries is Cambodia. Read More
benin

General information

  • GNI per capita at PPP$, 2011: 1,630
  • Internal renewable water resources, 2011: 10.3 km3/year
  • Incoming water flow, 2011: 16.09 km3/year
  • Main food consumed, 2009: yam, cassava, maize, rice, meat,  pulses, vegetables
  • Rice consumption, 2009: 34.4 kg milled rice per person per year

Production seasons

 

Planting

Harvesting

Main
Apr-May
Aug-Sep
Irrigated Rice
May-Jul
Nov-Jan


Write-up taken from the IRRI's Rice Almanac (2013):


 

Benin, a small West African country facing south in the Atlantic Ocean between Nigeria and Togo, has an area of 112,620 km2 and is bordered also by Burkina Faso and Niger. The land comprises mainly low plains and nearly a quarter is arable, with agriculture accounting for 32% of GDP. The climate ranges from hot and humid in the coastal south to semiarid in the north. The population in 2011 was estimated at 9.1 million. About 44% of the workforce was engaged in the agricultural sector in 2010.

Source: FAOSTAT database online and AQUASTAT database online, as of November 2012.




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mali

General information 

  • GNI per capita at PPP$, 2011: 1,040
  • Internal renewable water resources, 2011: 60 km3/year
  • Incoming water flow, 2011: 40 km3/year
  • Main food consumed, 2009: milk, millet, vegetables, rice, sorghum, maize, sugar and sweeteners, meat
  • Rice consumption, 2009: 56.0 kg milled rice per person per year

Production seasons

 

Planting

Harvesting

Main
May-Jul
Oct-Dec
Off
Jan-Mar
May-Jul
Deepwater rice
Jul-Aug
Dec-Jan


Write-up taken from the IRRI's Rice Almanac (2013):


Mali is a landlocked country located in West Africa and it has a total area of 1,240,192 km2, of which 5.2% (2009) is arable land, contained within a land boundary of 7,243 km. The climate varies from subtropical to arid, being hot and dry (February to June), rainy and humid (June to November), and cool and dry (November to February). Mali covers the southern Sudan savanna zone, the central, semiarid Sahelian zone, and the arid Saharan zone. Terrain varies from flat, sandy plains in the north to southern savanna and rugged hills in the northeast. About 4% of the land area is used for arable crops. 

The estimated population in 2011 is 15.8 million, with an estimated annual growth rate of 2.6%. Life expectancy at birth is 53 years. 

Mali is among the world’s 25 poorest countries, and economic activity is mostly confined to the area irrigated by the Niger River. About 10% of the population is nomadic and about 75% of the labor force is engaged in agriculture. Agriculture accounts for 40% of GDP and contributes close to 30% of export earnings. Rice contributes around 5% of the country’s GDP and is deemed having the advantage of enjoying a fast expanding national market.

Recent developments in the rice sector

Rice in Mali is grown in deepwater areas, under irrigation, and under rainfed conditions in both lowland and upland systems. The area under rice doubled in 2009 at 0.66 million ha from area harvested in 1995 at 0.31 million ha but decreased to 0.47 million ha 2010. Production increased from 0.48 million t in 1995 to about 2.31 million t of paddy in 2010. Rice yields across ecosystems have varied widely since 1995 (between 1.6 t/ha and 4.9 t/ha) without a clear increasing or declining trend. Enhanced production gradually reduced the need for rice imports. Caloric intake per day from rice increased from 15.0% in 1995 to 21.2% in 2009. Protein intake from rice over the same period increased from 11.1% to 16.4%.Almost all mineral fertilizer inputs are imported, representing close to 45% of the total value of agricultural imports. Fertilizer imports have been constantly increasing at an annual rate of 10% since 1971. Rice growing in the Office du Niger alone uses around 20,000 t of diammonium phosphate and urea per year.

Under the CARD (Coalition for African Rice Development) initiative, Mali endorsed a national rice development strategy (NRDS) in 2009 that is fully in line with national policies and international commitments. The vision is to transform Mali into an agricultural powerhouse, to be placed with other emerging countries as an exporter of processed and labeled rice-based products. The strategy aims to intensify high-yielding systems. Emphasis will be placed on

  1. Developing new areas with water control (10,000 ha per year).
  2. Developing rainfed rice growing with high-yielding varieties such as NERICA4.
  3. Intensifying other production systems, especially controlled swamp rice cultivation, and lowland and natural swamp rice cultivation.

Rice environments

The Office du Niger is the rice basket in the country with 90,000 ha of irrigated land, used almost entirely for rice, with  potential for 900,000 ha of irrigable land. There are large irrigation schemes in Selingue, Baguinéda, the San Ouest plains, and the small village holdings situated along the Niger and Senegal rivers. Total developed area is 125,000 ha and average yields have reached 5 to 6 t/ha, from an initial low of 2 t/ha in the 1980s through rehabilitation of irrigation schemes and the introduction of modern rice varieties, transplanting, and well-timed and appropriate mineral fertilizer use.

Upland rice cropping is mainly restricted to the southern part of the country. With the introduction of NERICA varieties, upland rice is now also grown near Sikasso, Kayes, and Koulikoro. Yield is about 1 to 2 t/ha, but can reach 3 to 4 t/ha. 

Controlled swamp rice farming depends on rainfall for crop establishment and on intake from rivers for flooding. Cultivated area is around 74,000 ha, and is mainly located in Ségou and Mopti. Yields vary between 1.0 and 2.5 t/ha.

For water control, lowland rice farming is characterized by a great diversity from full water control to complete dependence on rainfall. The potential land area for this system is 300,000 ha and around 140,000 ha of rice are grown per year in undeveloped lowlands, mostly by women in the Ségou, Sikasso, and Kayes regions, where yields vary between 0.8 and 2 t/ha.

Traditional floating rice cultivation is practiced in the interior delta of the Niger and along the loop of the river. Varieties used are Oryza glaberrima types, which are notable for rapid growth that allows them to keep pace with the rising water levels of the river, which can rise 5 cm per day. Planting takes place during the rainy season before the waters arrive to flood the rice paddies. Water can rise by several meters in some places, and rice grows so that only the panicles show above the water (giving the name floating rice). Harvesting is mostly done using canoes and yields rarely surpass 1 t/ha from a total area of about 300,000 ha.

Production constraints

Suboptimal timing of crop management interventions may still cause considerable yield losses in irrigated systems, for example, because of the late arrival of credit, fertilizer, etc. Insect and disease pressure such as rice yellow mottle virus may further reduce yields. In some years, locust attacks can wipe out production. Certain invasive species such as water hyacinth block irrigation networks, slowing down the water supply to rice fields. Upland systems may suffer from drought, poor soil fertility, competition from weeds (including Striga), and attacks by pests and diseases (blast). Flooding, drought, weeds, and disease attacks cause yield losses in rainfed lowland systems. 

In general, inadequate postharvest technologies decrease the quality of locally produced rice. Mainly in the rainfed systems, farm operations are still mostly done manually. Farmers and processors do not have easy access to credit or have to face high interest rates. Storage, processing, and marketing of local rice are not well organized, hampering trade between surplus- and deficit-producing areas and leading to high transaction costs. Land tenure issues may discourage investment in the development of land and water resources to be used for rice cropping.

Production opportunities

Mali has great potential for rice. The government provides strong support to the development of the agricultural sector and rice in particular, through a special Presidential Initiative. The area that could be grown under irrigated rice has been estimated at 2.2 million ha, with only 20% of this potential currently used. Within the framework of the NRDS, eight priority areas have been identified to double or even triple Mali’s production by 2018 vis-à-vis 2008:

  1. Improving farmers’ access to quality rice seed
  2. Enhancing the preservation and maintenance of rice genetic resources
  3. Enhancing the use of organic inputs to improve soil quality and enhance mineral fertilizer uptake
  4. Improving farmers’ access to mineral fertilizers
  5. Improving postharvest operations and marketing of locally produced rice
  6. Enhancing investments in water control techniques and irrigation
  7. Enhancing rice research and extension capacity
  8. Improving access to agricultural loans for rice value chain actors

The Millennium Challenge Corporation plans to develop 16,000 ha of irrigated land in the Alatona Irrigation Project. Within the framework of African integration, member states of the West African Economic and Monetary Union are planning to develop about 11,000 ha in the Office du Niger. A joint Malian-Libyan project is developing 100,000 ha in the Office du Niger area. Mali is building national rice stocks for food security. These stocks were expected to rise to 100,000 t by 2012.

Sources: * Mali Rice Statistics survey, 2009; **144,514 hectares from AQUASTAT
FAO’s FAOSTAT database online and AQUASTAT database online, as of September 2012.




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tanzania

General information 

  • GNI per capita at PPP$, 2011: 1,500
  • Internal renewable water resources, 2011: 84 km3/year
  • Incoming water flow, 2011: 12.27 km3/year
  • Main food crops, 2009: starchy roots, bananas, maize, milk, vegetables, rice, wheat, beans
  • Rice consumption, 2009: 20.1 kg milled rice per person per year

Production seasons

 

Planting

Harvesting

Main
Dec-Feb
May-Jul
Off
Jun-Jul
Nov-Dec


Write-up taken from the IRRI's Rice Almanac (2013):


Tanzania is located in East Africa and has a total area of 945,090 km2, of which 11.3% (2009) is arable land and is contained within a land boundary of 3,861 km and a 1,424-km coastline. The climate varies from tropical along the coast to temperate in highlands. Natural hazards include drought and flooding on the central plateau in the rainy season. The country’s main geographic features are a coastal plain in the west, northern highlands along the border with Kenya, southern highlands near the Zambian border, and the semiarid central plains. Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa at 5,859 m above sea level.

The estimated population in 2011 is about 46.2 million, with an estimated annual population growth rate of 2%. Life expectancy at birth is 53 years.

Agriculture accounts for more than a quarter of GDP and employs about 76% of the labor force. About 85% of exports are related to agriculture, providing about 22% of foreign exchange earnings.

Recent developments in the rice sector

Rice is grown in three major ecosystems, rainfed lowland, upland, and irrigated systems. The area under rice increased from about 0.39 million ha in 1995 to about 0.72 million ha in 2010. Production increased from about 0.62 million t in 1995 to about 1.33 million t of paddy rice in 2009 but dropped to 1.10 million t in 2010. Average paddy yields across ecosystems have varied widely over the last 20 years (between 1.25 and 2.40 t/ha) without a clear increasing or declining trend. Enhanced production gradually reduced the need for rice imports. The rice self-sufficiency ratio was about 91.8% in 2010. Caloric intake per day from rice increased from 6.9% in 1995 to 9.1% in 2009. Protein intake from rice over the same period increased from 5.2% to 7.0%. Fertilizers are mostly imported, except for rock phosphate that is mined in the country.

Under the CARD (Coalition for African Rice Development) initiative, Tanzania endorsed a national rice development strategy (NRDS) in 2009 that is fully in line with national policies and international commitments. The vision is to transform the existing subsistence-dominated rice subsector progressively into commercially and viable production systems. In implementing the NRDS, Tanzania will focus on eight strategic areas:

  1. Increasing availability of and access to agricultural inputs (seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, and appropriate farm machinery)
  2. Introducing improved varieties and integrated crop management options to close yield gaps, especially in irrigated rice systems
  3. Reducing postharvest losses and enhancing marketing of rice
  4. Rehabilitation and development of new irrigation schemes and improving irrigation and water-harvesting technology
  5. Enhancing access to and maintenance of agricultural equipment
  6. Improving capacity for technology development, training, and dissemination systems
  7. Enhancing access to credit and agricultural finance
  8. Promotion of medium- and large-scale processing industry

Rice environments

The priority areas for rice production are the irrigated lowland, rainfed lowland, and upland ecosystems. In the irrigated lowlands, improved rice varieties such as IR64 and SARO5 are usually grown. Yields range from 2.5 to 4 t/ha, with great scope for further yield improvement through improved crop management and further intensification. Total potential area for irrigation development is 29.4 million ha, out of which 2.3 million ha are characterized as high potential areas, 4.8 million ha as medium potential, and 22.3 million ha as low potential. In the upland systems, landraces (Supa) are commonly grown. In these systems, NERICA varieties are being introduced. Yields currently range from 0.8 to 1.0 t/ha. In the rainfed lowlands, water is usually adequate. Soils are also relatively fertile as compared to upland soils. Varieties grown are mostly landraces. Yields range from 1.5 to 2.0 t/ha. Crop diversification and intensification have great potential in these rainfed lowland systems.

Production constraints

Farmers grow mainly local and traditional varieties, many of which have low yield potential. Most of the rice grown depends on rainfall and many irrigation schemes need urgent rehabilitation. Upland systems are prone to drought, weed infestation (including Striga), and attacks by pests and diseases (blast). Rainfed lowland systems suffer from floods during heavy rains but can also face drought. Weed infestation, pests (African rice gall midge and stem borers), and diseases (rice yellow mottle virus, blast, bacterial leaf blight) cause low yields. Soil fertility is generally low. Rice competes with other crops such as maize, for land and labor. Inadequate postharvest technologies result in low-quality rice and low prices in the market. Farm operations are mostly (95%) done manually. Farmers and processors do not have easy access to credit. The infrastructure for transportation, storage, and processing is often lacking or in need of rehabilitation. 

Production opportunities

Tanzania has large land resources suitable for rice (29 million ha) and abundant water resources (underground, rivers, and lakes) for irrigation. There is also clear political will of the government to enhance rice production and productivity. There is currently a suitable policy environment, with tax exemption measures on the import of agricultural machinery and subsidies provided to farmers on agricultural inputs such as fertilizer and seed. The government is providing an enabling environment for the private sector to participate more strongly in agricultural production, processing, and marketing. The general objective is to double rice production by 2018 vis-à-vis 2008, which would be achieved through the following specific interventions:

  1. Improving rice production through better farmer access to improved varieties and improved crop management practices and postharvest technologies
  2. Introducing and adopting small-scale labor-saving technologies to improve the timeliness and efficiency of farm operations
  3. Strengthening seed systems for delivery of improved varieties to farmers and other end-users (public and private)
  4. Strengthening the capacity of public and private institutions responsible for research, extension, and training in rice technology development and dissemination
  5. Enhancing agro-processing and value addition
  6. Strengthening collaboration and linkages among national, regional, and international institutions involved in rice research and development.

Sources: Tanzania Rice Statistics survey, 2009; *2002 data; FAO’s FAOSTAT database online and AQUASTAT database online, as of September 2012.




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senegal

General information  

  • GNI per capita at PPP$, 2011: 1,940
  • Internal renewable water resources, 2011:  25.8 km3/year
  • Incoming water flow, 2011: 13 km3/year
  • Main food consumed, 2009: rice, vegetables, milk, wheat, maize, millet, starchy roots, fish
  • Rice consumption, 2009: 71.5 kg milled rice per person per year

Production seasons

 

Planting

Harvesting

Main
Jun-Jul
Oct-Dec
Off
Feb-Mar
Jun-Jul


Write-up taken from the IRRI's Rice Almanac (2013):


Senegal is located in West Africa, bordering the Atlantic Ocean, and has a total area of 192,530 km2, of which 20% is arable land, contained within a land boundary of 2,640 km, with 531 km of coastline. The climate is tropical—hot and humid; May to November witnesses a rainy season with strong southeast winds and December to April a dry season with harmattan winds (hot, dry, and dusty trade winds). Natural hazards include drought and seasonal flooding of lowlands. The terrain comprises generally low, rolling plains rising to foothills in the southeast. The estimated population in 2012 was 13 million, with an estimated annual growth rate of 2.7%. Life expectancy at birth is 60 years. Key export industries are phosphate mining, fertilizer production, and commercial fishing. The country’s national dish is rice with fish (thièbou-djène). Senegal is among the largest consumers of rice in West Africa and one of the largest importers of broken rice.

Recent developments in the rice sector

The area under rice increased from 69,000 ha in 1995 to about 147,200 ha in 2010. Production increased from 155,200 t in 1995 to about 604,000 t of paddy rice in 2010. Average paddy rice yields across ecosystems varied widely over the last 20 years (between 2.0 and 4.1 t /ha) without a clear increasing or declining trend. Imports had been at less than half a million t in 1995 and reached the million mark in 2007 but decreased in 2010 to 706,700 t. The rice self-sufficiency ratio was almost 25% during 2005-09.  Calorie intake per day from rice increased from 27.1% in 1995 to 28.5% in 2009. Protein intake from rice over the same period decreased from 27.1% to 23.1%. Fertilizers are mostly imported, except for phosphate that is mined in the country. 

Faced with an increasing population and growing urbanization, the government of Senegal gave priority to increased national agricultural production, and as part of the GOANA initiative (in English, Grand Agricultural Offensive on Food and Abundance). Senegal also developed a National Rice Development Strategy under the Coalition for African Rice Development (CARD).

Rice environments

Rice production systems in Senegal are largely dominated by small and family-held farms. Irrigated rice farming occupied about 53,000 ha during the 2008 crop year (off-season and rainy season) split between the Senegal River Valley (50,000 ha) and the Anambé Basin (3,000 ha). Irrigated rice production represents 70% of national production. Rice yields vary between 4 and 6 t/ha on average. 

Double cropping is in principle possible in the Senegal River Valley but difficult because of the risk of cold stress in the wet season and heat stress in the dry season if sowing is delayed. It is hardly practiced because of difficulties with the timing of crop management interventions (late harvesting of the previous crop, late arrival of seed and other inputs). Harvest and postharvest operations remain major bottlenecks in irrigated systems in Senegal. 

Rainfed lowland or upland rice farming is found in the southern parts of the country. During the 2009 rainy season, rainfed rice growing occupied 72,000 ha, representing 30% of national production.

Production constraints

Irrigated rice farming faces a number of constraints such as land tenure problems, high development costs, and timely access to quality inputs, in particular seed and mineral fertilizer. Poor timing of crop management interventions because of the late arrival of inputs or delay in harvesting of the previous crop leads to important yield losses. Weed infestation, in particular in direct-seeded fields, and bird damage are major constraints. Late harvesting often leads to both substantial quantitative losses due to shattering and qualitative losses in the final rice product. Yields are generally between 4 and 6 t/ha. Yield potential is much higher, between 8 and 11 t/ha, depending on the growing season and the location along the Senegal River due to highly fertile soils and a generally favorable climate. 

Production, harvesting, and processing operations in rainfed systems are done manually and mostly by women. Farmers generally lack access to seed of improved varieties, such as NERICAs. Drought, weed infestation, and low soil fertility are major constraints in rainfed upland systems, with yields usually from 1 to 1.5 t/ha. In rainfed lowland systems, yields are usually clearly higher, up to 3 t/ha, because of more favorable soils and moisture conditions. In both rainfed upland and lowland systems, important yield gains can be obtained with the introduction of improved varieties with greater resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses and the introduction of improved water management and water-harvesting techniques.

Production opportunities

The favorable climate for double cropping of rice, the progressive return of donors ready to invest more and more in rice growing, and the current state of play of the international rice market are in themselves great opportunities to be seized. The huge imports offer a clear opportunity for Senegalese farmers and rice value-chain actors as a whole. 

The main objective of the National Rice Development Sector was to lift national rice production to 1,000,000 t of milled rice by 2012. The contribution expected from irrigated rice cultivation to attain this objective is 800,000 t, with rainfed rice contributing 200,000 t. This will consist of homogeneous broken and whole rice fetching competitive prices compared with imported rice and giving a financial return for all the actors in the sector. To achieve these goals, there is a need for

  1. Development of the rice seed sector
  2. Rehabilitation of irrigation schemes in disuse and building of new schemes and achieving an average cropping intensity of at least 1.5 rice crops per year in these schemes
  3. Providing farmers with access to agricultural equipment for harvest and postharvest activities and rice processing plants
  4. Increased diffusion of integrated crop management options to reduce yield gaps in both irrigated and rainfed systems
  5. Better organization of marketing, and the creation of private professional agencies in charge of buying, processing, and selling milled rice
  6. Development of a coherent input subsidy policy
  7. Support for promoting by-products of rice for animal feed and energy production
  8. Improved access to agricultural credit
  9. Better intergovernmental coordination of campaigns against locust attacks

Sources: *Senegal Rice Statistics survey, 2009; **Grain Report of the USDA, 2010; FAO’s FAOSTAT database online and AQUASTAT database online, as of September
2012.




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If you want to learn more, please read the Rice Almanac. You can purchase it on Kindle or download for free as a PDF.

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