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The African Development Fund (ADF) has approved a loan and a grant amounting to 21.99mn units of account (UA), equivalent to US$30.80mn to finance the New Rice for <

  • xml:namespace prefix = st1 />Africa (Nerica) Extension Project in seven west African countries: Benin, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. The loan and the grant amount respectively to UA20mn, equivalent to US$28.01mn and UA1.99mn, equivalent to US$2.78mn.

    The objective of the project is to enhance rice production and import substitution. It will contribute to poverty reduction and food security in the participating countries through enhanced access to high yielding Nerica upland rice varieties. The project has four components: technology transfer; production support; capacity building and project coordination.

    The primary beneficiaries of the project will be upland rice producers, who usually use low yielding upland rice varieties. About 80% of the targeted beneficiaries are women and poor. A total of 33,000 farm families will be involved in Nerica participatory variety selection (PVS) to enhance the dissemination of high yielding Nerica varieties. The project will benefit an estimated 241,000 farm families in the project area. Other beneficiaries of the project will include rice research scientists, extension agents, community seed producers, credit and micro finance institutions, input distributors, rice processors and traders.

    The project will support the transfer of Nerica rice varieties from the West Africa Rice Development Association (Warda) to the seven participating countries. The project will strengthen linkages between and among research, extension, farming communities and the private sector. An estimated 400,000ha of additional land will be put under Nerica rice varieties by the fifth year of the project. The project will generate about 600,000 metric tons of rice. The import bill of the seven countries will be reduced by about US$100mn. The net incomes of the targeted upland rice growers will be enhanced from a net loss of about US$19.50 per ha per year before project to a net gain of US$216.30 per ha/yr. The targeted beneficiaries will be organised into 1,320 rice farmer groups, out of which 1,056 are women groups.

    The total project cost is estimated at 26.77mn UA, equivalent to US$37.50mn. The ADF loan and grant will be used to finance 90.3% of the foreign exchange cost and 58.7% of the local cost.

    The seven countries are members of Warda, which is headquartered in C í´te d’Ivoire. The Nerica rice varieties evolved from the research conducted by Warda.

    Hard on the heels of this US$1.15bn deal for Sonangol, which was meant to be the corporate’s only entry to the market this year, Nissho Iwai seems to have had its previously dormant mandate ressurected for a US$500mn facility for Sonangol’s own use, presumably linked to projects involving Nissho, and is said to be forming a bank group.