Paddy rice production in Africa is forecast to be 25.6 million tons this year, virtually unchanged from the record harvest of 2008. But despite the projections most countries are also expected to increase rice imports, says the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Many African governments have made a push for self-sufficiency in rice production, but the figures show this remains a long way off.
Africa will import 9.6 million tons of rice in 2009, up from 9.4 million in 2008, partly to meet growing demand and build up reserve stocks, FAO predicts in its bi-annual rice market monitor.
In West Africa rice production is expected to increase in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali and Nigeria, but decline in Burkina Faso, Chad, Guinea, Liberia, Niger, Senegal and Sierra Leone, according to FAO. Poor rains in East Africa will lower production in Kenya and Tanzania while Uganda’s rice production is set to rise. FAO predicts higher yields in Madagascar and Mozambique, despite both being hit by natural disasters.
The price of imported rice across the continent in 2009, though declining, has still not dropped to pre-2008 rice price crisis levels.
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