BURKINA FASO – Burkina Faso has officially set up a National Rice Observatory (ONAR-BF), a new public body mandated to oversee the rice sector and boost synergies for better competitiveness of local rice.
The celebrated milestone was launched in a ceremony held on July 25, graced by Gaoussou Sanou, Secretary General of the Ministry of Agriculture.
According to the executives, this new public body is mandated to support all stakeholders involved in the rice sector to better coordinate policies, financing, and research, for better competitiveness of local rice.
“In concrete terms, ONAR-BF should make it possible to align the development priorities of the Burkinabè rice sector, which essentially relate to the sustainable increase in production”, Gaoussou explained.
He added that the body will also spearhead the improvement of the competitiveness and quality of rice as well as the capacity building for national actors to address the challenges of the rice sector.
The launching of the crucial body comes at a time when rice has become a staple in Burkinabè households, putting pressure on the productive apparatus and prompting the government to invest in increasing local production.
Local production however, still represents less than 10% of the local supply which forces the country to import to bridge the shotfall.
As a result, rice is the third most imported consumer product after hydrocarbons and essential medicines.
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.
Currently, the production of paddy rice is close to 520,000 tons from 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.