COTE D’IVOIRE – AfricaRice, a Pan-African rice association has launched a US$2 million project aimed at boosting food, nutrition security through productive and sustainable use of inland valleys for rice-based systems in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.

Additionally, the project called “Capitalizing the inland valley potential for food and nutrition security for smallholder farmers in West Africa (CIPA)” aims to conserve land and water resources.

The ecosystems will be utilized for rice cultivation, vegetable cropping and livestock production.

“Thanks to relatively abundant water supplies and fertile soils, inland valleys can play a pivotal role in transforming Africa into a powerhouse of rice production,” said AfricaRice Director General Dr Harold Roy-Macauley.

“Both Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana have a high potential for sustainable development of rice-based systems in inland valleys, which have remained largely untapped until now.”

It is expected to benefit 10,000 people consisting of smallholder farmers, agro-pastoralists and other users of inland valley resources, traders, processors and rural entrepreneurs.

The project will be funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) over four years and executed in collaboration with other partners who will contribute US$848,000 in-kind support over the project implementation period.

These include Wageningen University and Research, the National Agricultural Research Center of Côte d’Ivoire (CNRA), the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research-Soil Research Institute of Ghana (CSIR-SRI) and MDF West Africa.

AfricaRice has identified inland valleys as the continent’s future food baskets given the rapidly increasing population and climate change.

“The overall goal of the CIPA project is therefore not only to contribute to enhanced food security and poverty alleviation, but also to biodiversity conservation and climate resilience for local communities, who are dependent on inland valleys,” explained Dr Josey Kamanda, AfricaRice Social Scientist and CIPA Project Coordinator.

“CIPA will promote collective decision-making and priority setting to reach consensus on land-and water-use planning, marketing of inland valley products, through multi-stakeholder innovation platforms (IP), land-use modelling approaches and value chain analyses,” he added.