CÔTE D’IVOIRE – The Ivorian government has launched the construction of a rice processing plant in Odienné as the country bets on improving the supply of the commodity on the local market.

With a total cost of 4.3 billion CFA francs (US$7.1 million), Defense Minister Téné Birahima Ouattara presided over the kicking off of the initiative which is part of a three-year government program called “Ivory Coast Women’s Factory” (USIFEM).

According to the minister, the program is piloted by the Ministry of Women, Family, and Children since 2020, an initiative aimed at developing female entrepreneurship by enabling women’s associations and groups to acquire and install machinery for the semi-industrial processing of agricultural products.

More broadly, he added, this is a boost aimed not only at increasing women’s contribution to the rice processing segment but also at strengthening the local industry’s rice processing capacity.

In Côte d’Ivoire, rice is the second most imported product after fish accounting for 60% of the demand. However, with the growth in demand and the high bill for purchases, initiatives are multiplying in the country to improve the supply of the commodity on the local market.

Recently, Kobenan Kouassi, the Minister of Agriculture announced that milled rice production for 2023 is expected to reach 1.4 million tonnes, a 27% increase compared to the 1.1M tonnes produced last year.

According to him, the effort is attainable following the growth of the processing capacity of the local industry supported by the National Strategy for the Development of Rice (SNDR) extending over the period 2020-2030.

Under the program, the government has invested in 30 processing units with a production capacity of 10,000 tonnes per hour, of which 18 are already in operation.

In addition, Mr. Adjoumani indicated that nearly 850,000 hectares of agricultural land have also been developed for the benefit of private operators to stimulate the local supply of paddy rice.

While the exact duration of the construction works for the Odienné rice mill plant and the production capacity have not been revealed, the authorities nevertheless expect the creation of nearly 520 direct and indirect jobs, once the installation is operational. 

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