TOGO- The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has initiated a new project named OCOP-TOGO to fortify Togo’s rice sector. 

The launch took place on December 18 in Lomé, aiming to support the country’s efforts to enhance the rice industry and ensure food and nutritional security for the Togolese people.

Konlani Dindiogue, Director of Cabinet at the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Rural Development, emphasized the government’s objective to leverage local rice output, creating surpluses for agricultural processing industries. 

The OCOP-TOGO project will focus on areas with high rice production potential, introducing green technologies to enhance sustainable practices.

The project’s key objectives include assisting producers and rice parboiling cooperatives in adopting green production, processing, and marketing. 

Additionally, efforts will be directed towards strengthening the technical and organizational capacities of various stakeholders in the rice sector.

Togo is among the 28 countries selected to benefit from the FAO initiative, identified through a call for applications titled “One country one priority product.” 

Regarding Togo’s current status in the rice sector, Konlani Dindiogue acknowledged a dependency rate of approximately 70%. In 2021, the national milled rice production reached around 100,000 tonnes, covering only 30% of the country’s needs.

Cabinet Director Konlani Dindiogue stressed the urgency to intensify government actions to achieve self-sufficiency in rice production. 

Oyetunde Djiwa, FAO Program Director in Togo, highlighted Togo’s ambition to reverse the balance of the rice trade, which currently relies heavily on imports. 

Togo has been struggling with an inadequacy of rice, which is a staple food in the country, attracting assistance from other countries. 

In September 2023, the government of Japan within the framework of the Kennedy Round food assistance project donated a total of US$1.7 million to buy 3,600 tons of rice in Togo. 

Similarly, in 2021, the Kennedy Round Food Assistance Project and the 2021 Economic and Social Development Project Japan donated to Togo a total amount of US$3.4 million to provide food for the vulnerable segments of the population.

In 2022, the two governments signed another agreement worth US$2.8 million to buy rice to help Togo cope with climate change’s impact on rice production, especially, with economic disruptions spurred by the Covid pandemic.

The current initiative by FAO focuses on supporting sustainable rice production, identifying pilot sites for improved production techniques, and empowering women to process rice, responding to the growing demand for parboiled rice in the Togolese market.

The OCOP-TOGO project is set to conclude its pilot phase in 2025, aligning with Togo’s broader vision to strengthen the resilience and productivity of its rice sector while promoting sustainability and self-sufficiency.

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