Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Omar Jallow, has said that The Gambia is the
founding member of Africa Rice, formerly known as WARDA.
The Gambia has a very special and historical relationship with the centre as the country’s stable food is rice, which has one of the highest per capita consumption rates of (117kg) in the world.
The Minister mentioned this at the opening ceremony of 10 Biennial Consultative Meeting of Africa Rice National Experts Committee Meeting held from 21 to 22 September 2017.
The National Experts Committee (NEC) of Africa Rice is a research centre and Pan-African Inter-Governmental Association of 26 African states, whose highest governing body is the Council of Ministers of its Member States.
“Our Country has a long rich tradition of rice cultivation as farmers were growing rice much before the arrival of Europeans,” he said.
The Gambian government has identified rice as a major food security crop and has developed a national rice development strategy for 2015-2024, under the Coalition for African Rice Development (CARD).
Africa Rice has been providing technical back-stopping assistance for The Gambia towards achieving the objectives of its NRDs between 2009 and 2016; and the country has benefitted from donor funded projects, coordinated by Africa Rice.
According to Minister Jallow, Africa Rice is leading the development of a continental investment plan on rice self-sufficiency in Africa (CIPRISSA).
The Agric Minister concluded that Africa Rice has recently established a Capacity Development Unit, which would develop a model to strengthen rice education and research capacities in higher education institutions in Africa, as well as models to strengthen the capacity of rice value chain actors, especially rural youths, through the recently set up training centre in Saint Louis, Senegal.
Africa Rice is leading the development of a continental investment plan on rice self-suffiency in Africa.
He said The Gambia would continue to advocate for more support to the rice sector for better utilisation of this common African tool, the Africa Rice.