The project goal is to reduce dependency on rice imports, and to improve food security and rural incomes in CEMAC countries through innovative interventions that promote competitive domestic rice production and marketing. To achieve this goal, the project introduces improved rice varieties, particularly the rice hybrids developed under the New Rice Initiative for Africa (NERICA) that are especially well adapted and available for various African agro-ecological zones. In addition simple market-oriented post-harvest technologies are demonstrated to smallholder-farmers and farmer groups, allowing them to integrate production with market development activities.
The project resulted in a tangible increase in on-farm rice productivity and quality through the deployment of NERICAs and other improved production and post-harvest technologies. Another important output is the construction of village based rice processing and milling centres for the supply of quality rice to wholesale/retail markets. These activities resulted in improved capacity of male and female farmers to participate in integrated profiatble rice production, processing and marketing operations. The project met its ambitious goal to reach a total of 60,000 farming households and enable them to self-reproduce NERICA seeds on a permanent basis. The village based rice processing centres all dispose of innovative business plans based on joint private sector/farmer management models. This increases the quality competition between locally produced rice vis-a-vis imports and triggers economic activity in remote rural areas. The success of the pilot project convinced the Chadian government to invest in the funding of some 100 of these processing centres throughout the country.