BURKINA FASO- Rice consumption in Burkina Faso has gradually gained importance prompting the government to depend on imports to meet local needs, according to Ecofin Agency.

Rice is the 4th most produced cereal behind sorghum, millet, and maize, it is the staple food whose growth in use has been the most significant in recent years.

Despite the increasing appetite coupled with the dynamics of its consumption, rice still represents less than 10% of the local supply becoming, over the last decade, the main imported cereal in the country.

According to data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), consumption increased in total by almost 300,000 tons between 2015 and 2022 and is projected to rise to 1.5 million tonnes by 2025 with a per capita volume that now exceeds 60 kg.

In addition, USDA statistics outline that the country’s milled rice purchases almost doubled between 2015/2016 and 2022/2023 from 350,000 tons to 600,000 tons. Such a volume makes the country the 6th largest importer in the region behind Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Guinea, and Ghana.    

According to data from the General Directorate of Trade, the dependence on the outside, which makes it possible to satisfy almost 60% of national needs, has a significant financial cost, grabbing the country an annual average of 68 billion CFA francs (US$30M) over the period 2016-2020, to make it the 3rd most imported consumer product

Currently, the production of paddy rice is close to 520,000 tons on 230,000 hectares, and the government believes that the sector can do better to fill the consumption gap in the coming years with proper planning and strategies.

According to official data, the country has a potential of about 500,000 hectares of lowlands and more than 233,500 hectares of irrigable land that can be used for rice cultivation.

FAO’s report on the cultivation of rice in the country shows that only 10% of lowlands and less than 5% of irrigable areas are developed.

Therefore, the government is calling upon the private actors to exploit the real opportunity to increase the performance of the sector with investments in facilities to improve yields both in irrigated rice cultivation and in lowlands, particularly in the three most important regions for rice (Hauts-Bassins, Cascades, Boucle du Mouhoun).

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