CÔTE D’IVOIRE – The Ivorian government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with South Korea to implement a US$10 million project in the rice sector

Kobenan Kouassi Adjoumani, Côte d’Ivoire’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, and his South Korean counterpart Chung Hwang-Keun signed the MOU for cooperation on October 18 in Abidjan.

The cutting-edge project will be implemented in a pilot phase in the Yamoussoukro district for a period of 5 years, before its extension to other rice production areas throughout the territory. 

The objective stated by the authorities is to provide a stock of 5,500 tonnes of high-yielding rice seeds each year at the end of the project.

Commenting on the project, Mr. Adjoumani underlined that the initiative will enable the creation of rice seed production complexes in the Ivory Coast.

According to him, the improvement of rice seed productivity and distribution systems as well as the promotion of seed production technologies through the training of professionals in rice fields. 

This new partnership is part of the “K-Ricebelt” project announced by Seoul last July which aims to develop the production of improved rice seeds in 8 sub-Saharan African countries.

According to information relayed by the Ivorian Press Agency (AIP), the implementation of the Ivorian component of the K-Ricebelt should mobilize an envelope of 6.4 billion CFA francs (US$10.3 million).

Ivory Coast is the second largest importer of rice in Africa behind Nigeria. The country depends 56% on imports for its milled rice consumption needs, which are around 2.6 million tonnes per year, according to USDA data.

However, the country is seeking to reduce the cost of its purchases in an international cereal market whose development depends on the commercial policy of the main exporters 

Recently, the West African country announced a precautionary suspension of the export of local rice and sugar, for the period from September 18 to December 31, 2023, to protect the purchasing power of the population.

According to authorities, the decision taken by the main suppliers, notably India, which banned the export of certain qualities of rice led to the price of rice on the international market experiencing disruptions.

However, the country plans to increase its local production of milled rice by 27% through a raft of measures to bring stocks to 1.4 million tonnes in 2023.