CÔTE D’IVOIRE- Ivory Coast has sealed a landmark agreement with Israeli agricultural services provider, Ekobell to bolster its rice production and achieve self-sufficiency in food. 

The deal, valued at US$163 million, was signed by Kobenan Adjoumani, the Minister of Agriculture, on April 11.

Ivory Coast, the second-largest producer and importer of rice in West Africa after Nigeria, has long grappled with a production deficit in the staple grain. 

The government’s strategic move to collaborate with the private sector reflects its commitment to address this gap and enhance domestic rice cultivation.

The agreement entails the implementation of a comprehensive rice project in the Haut-Sassandra region, slated for completion by the end of 2025. 

Covering an extensive area of 6,000 hectares across the sub-prefectures of Gonaté and Boguedia, the initiative will encompass establishing and expanding an integrated rice estate. 

Additionally, it will incorporate the installation of modern rice processing facilities and advanced water management systems.

Minister Adjoumani expressed optimism about the partnership, emphasizing its pivotal role in advancing the country’s agricultural objectives. 

This significant funding comes at the right time when the government, through public-private partnerships, aims to achieve self-sufficiency in rice and, more generally, food sovereignty,” he remarked.

The collaboration aligns with Ivory Coast’s ambitious targets in the rice sector. With aspirations to attain self-reliance in rice production by 2025, the nation aims to ramp up its milled rice output to over 2.6 million tonnes, a substantial increase from the 1.4 million tonnes recorded in 2023. 

These efforts are underscored by the country’s reliance on rice imports, which amounted to more than 1.2 million tonnes valued at nearly US$640 million in 2022, according to data from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

According to its website, Ekobell’ has been at the forefront of sustainable water management, energy, education, agriculture, and construction projects that upgrade living standards, boost economies, and positively affect people’s lives.

We have the unique ability to effectively combine technological, financial, and management aspects with local cultural practices. We study the customer’s needs, the terrain conditions, and the existing and required resources, and subsequently offer a customized solution, which we see through,” Ekobell. 

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