US $28.3mln project to cut rice imports in Guinea gets underway

Guinea becomes yet another country in Africa to launch Regional Rice Value Chain Project with support of the Lives and Livelihoods Fund

US $28.3mln project to cut rice imports in Guinea gets underway
  • The LLF is supporting five countries in Sub-Saharan Africa where the regional program is being rolled out.
  • $28.3 million initiative aims to reduce Guinea’s high rice import bill by 10%
  • Guinea project will drive economic growth by raising rice productivity through the development of 2,734 hectares of plains and lowlands; improved production and productivity, agro-processing, and marketing
  • The Project also aims to promote smallholder farming among women and youth
  • 60,000 rural households to benefit from scheme in Guinea

Conakry, Guinea – A programme to cut reliance on rice imports in Guinea has officially been launched with the support of the Lives and Livelihoods Fund, a multilateral development initiative created by the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and development cooperation partners.

The Bank and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock in Guinea marked the nation becoming yet another member country of the Islamic Development Bank in West Africa to kick off the Regional Rice Value Chain Project (RRVCP) with a working summit that brought together key stakeholders to set out the roadmap for the project in Guinea.

Guinea is among the first cohort of LLF supported West African countries to benefit from the Regional Rice Value Chain Development Program. The other countries are The Gambia, Niger, Senegal and Sierra Leone. The Guinea rice value chain project, funded to the tune of US$ 28.3 million in concessional financing by the Lives and Livelihoods Fund (LLF), and resources of the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development, and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), aims to reduce the high level of rice imports in Guinea by 10% and to strengthen economic growth by improving production and productivity, processing, marketing, and enhancing private sector participation.

Speaking at the event, Dr Samoii Béavogui, General Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock in Guinea, said:

“We are grateful to the Lives and Livelihoods Fund and its donors for their support through the Regional Rice Value Chain Program. Improving domestic rice production is a priority for Guinea.

Through initiatives such as the Rice Value Chain Project, we are seeing increasing investment in this area that is improving productivity and also increasing employment opportunities, particularly among young people.”

The Lives & Livelihoods Fund uses an innovative financing model that combines the lending capital of IsDB to offer concessional loans that is blended with grants of the regional and international donors: Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD), King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSRelief) and the Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD). The loans do not merely address immediate needs but also  set in motion fundamental livelihood changes that can create opportunities for millions of disadvantaged people, particularly in rural areas. The fund currently supports 31 projects across the Arab World, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia.  

The Regional Rice Value Chain Programme (RRVCP) covers member countries of IsDB in West Africa that currently have low to intermediate rice self-sufficiency, ranging between 12% in Niger to 69% in Guinea. The gap is filled through imports that cost a combined US$ 1.2 billion annually.

Musa Sillah, Director, the Islamic Development Bank’s Regional Hub of Dakar, Senegal, said: “By empowering countries across Africa to invest in their own rice sectors, the Lives and Livelihoods Fund can help them improve productivity and competitiveness and rely less on imports.

“This will enable smallholder producers to increase their incomes, improving the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people, especially within rural areas. At the Lives and Livelihoods Fund, we believe this is the most effective way of lifting people out of poverty - thereby saving lives today and securing sustainable livelihoods for the future,”, he concluded.

Rice is the main food staple in Guinea and is mostly produced by smallholder farmers in rural areas where nearly 80% of the population live. Yet it is not enough, largely because of the low productivity, with yields under smallholder farming typically being under 2 tons per hectare. Consequently, the country imports around 600,000 tons of rice per year. This can be turned around quickly though given the enormous potential the country has. For instance, Guinea’s irrigation potential is estimated at 364,000 hectares, of which 30,200 hectares only is currently developed.

The Guinea project covers four regions in Lower Guinea: Coyah, Dubreka, Boffa, and Boké, as well as three in Upper Guinea: Dinguiraye, Kouroussa and Siguiri. These were selected due to their potential to increase rice production. In total, the project will impact 60,000 rural households involved in the rice value chain in Guinea, equivalent to about 300,000 people

The project team will work with actors across the value chain - smallholder farmers, producers associations, agro-processors, traders, millers, service providers, agro-dealers, aggregators, financial institutions, and rural communities – to break free of constraints that hinder rice development. This will include developing key infrastructure including efficient irrigation systems, on-farm drying and storage facilities that minimize post-harvest losses, relevant extension and advisory services, and agro-processing through the effective engagement of the rice millers. Additionally, the project will increase access to yield-enhancing technologies (improved seeds and appropriate fertilizers) that could raise yields to at least 6 tons per hectare, mechanization that improves land preparation and harvesting, and digital solutions and services that connects well actors along the value chain.  

One of the goals of the project is to ensure that 45% of women and 45% of smallholder farmers under 35 years old have access to the technologies and innovations that the project will support the value chain and, that in the process, create equitable employment opportunities.

By the end of the five-year implementation period, more than 2,700 hectares of plains and lowlands will be impacted, including through efficient irrigation and water management systems that allow year-round rice cultivation (double cropping) to increase production. Other crops including vegetables and grain legumes will also be grown in association and rotation with rice. This will help diversify the production system, and in doing so, provide a basis for improving household food and nutritional security, build resilience  and enhance adaptation to climate change, and build the foundation for an overall sustainable smallholder-based agriculture in Guinea.


About The Lives and Livelihoods Fund

On September 29th 2016, the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) along with King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSRelief), Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD), and the Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD) launched a US$ 2.5 billion Lives & Livelihoods Fund (LLF) with a joint vision to raise the poorest out of poverty in IsDB member countries. As of today, the Lives and Livelihoods Fund’s donors have a net approval of US$ 1.34 billion worth of projects across Africa and Asia. The LLF is the largest development initiative of its kind in the Middle East and serves 33 IsDB member countries, with 32 ongoing operations across 21 Countries. 

About The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD)

The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development is a foreign aid agency established by the government of Abu Dhabi in 1971. The fund provides concessionary loans to fund economic and social development projects. The fund also invests in order to expand and strengthen the private sector economies of its clients.

About The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF)

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Mark Suzman, under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

About Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD)

The Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD) is the poverty alleviation arm of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group. Emphasizing human development, and especially reducing illiteracy and eradicating diseases/ epidemics such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/ Aids.

About King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief)

King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) was established by King Salman bin Abdulaziz in 2015. The Supervisor General of the KSRelief is Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Rabeeah. The centre was established in the framework of Saudi’s efforts to alleviate the suffering of those in need worldwide.

UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO)

FCDO pursues national interests and projects the UK as a force for good in the world. FCDO promotes the interests of the commonwealth, safeguard the UK’s security, defend the UK's values, reduce poverty and tackle global challenges with our international partners.

About Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD)

QFFD is a public development institution committed, on behalf of the State of Qatar, to implement external aid projects under Law No. 19 of 2002 and its amendments. It has provided aid to several countries around the world to achieve the international cooperation goals of the Qatar National Vision 2030. The Qatar Fund for Development's main goal is to achieve inclusive and sustainable development, by addressing priority issues of education, health and economic empowerment.

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