From the Inter Press Service (IPS):
Thanks to food riots in several African cities fuelled by high rice prices between 2007 and 2008, sub-Saharan Africa is growing and eating more rice after governments were forced into ambitious production programmes.
Rice is the third most important source of dietary energy in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the Cotonou-based Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice), a research organisation working to contribute to poverty alleviation and food security in Africa and which is supported by CGIAR, the Global Agricultural Research Partnership (ed).
An analysis by AfricaRice conducted in March 2013 shows that average rice yields in sub-Saharan Africa jumped by about 30 percent from 2007 to 2012, and are increasing at a faster rate than the global average. The rate of paddy rice production also shot up from 3.2 percent per year before the rice crisis to 8.4 percent per year afterwards.
Describing this as encouraging news, AfricaRice’s director general, Dr. Papa Seck, said it was crucial to maintain the trend because rice consumption was increasing in sub-Saharan Africa at an annual rate of five percent.
“Following the food crisis, numerous investments were made by governments, international agencies, and donor countries (through bilateral cooperation) to revamp the rice sector in sub-Saharan Africa,” says AfricaRice Deputy Director General Dr. Marco Wopereis. (…)