Rice yields in sub-Saharan Africa rise 30% average end of 2012

riceRice production rose 30% on average in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) in two years at end of 2012, according to analysis by the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice).

The analysis revealed that the paddy rice production growth rate in SSA shot up from 3.2% per year before the rice crisis (2000–2007) to 8.4% per year after the rice crisis (2007–2012).

The Centre’s mid-March 2013 analysis also showed that “average rice yield in SSA jumped by about 30% from 2007 to 2012 and that it is increasing at a faster rate than the global average.”

These were made known in a recent YouTube video posted by AfricaRice and seen by ghanabusinessnews.com.

“This is very encouraging news. The surge in SSA’s rice production and yield is a result of key investments made by farmers, governments, the private sector, the research community and donors to develop Africa’s rice sector,” said AfricaRice Director General Dr Papa Seck.

Dr Seck pointed out that it is crucial to maintain the trend, because rice consumption continues to increase in SSA at an annual rate of 5%.

AfricaRice Deputy Director General, Dr Marco Wopereis said paddy rice production in SSA increased by 2.8 million tonnes from 2000 to 2007, and then accelerated, increasing by 4.7 million tonnes in the period 2007–2012.

Dr Wopereis stated that AfricaRice’s analysis revealed that average rice yield in SSA increased by about 11 kg per ha per year from 1961 to 2007 and by a spectacular 108 kg per ha per year from 2007 to 2012, despite drought and floods in several African countries in 2011 and 2012.

He explained that such growth rates are comparable with cereal yield growth rates after the Second World War in the UK and the USA indicating that rice yield worldwide – driven by the Green Revolution in Asia – increased by 52 kg per ha per year over the period 1960–2010.

“Currently, 71% of the increase in paddy rice production in SSA can be explained by yield increase and 29% by area expansion, whereas before the rice crisis, only 24% of production increase could be attributed to increases in yield and 76% to increases in harvested area,” Dr Wopereis added.

Dr Wopereis attributed the rice yield jump to increased use of technological innovation, such as improved varieties and improved crop management in general.

By Ekow Quandzie

Video: SSA grows more rice – AfricaRice

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