- The UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation has set aside $ 500,000 help for Benin to achieve its ambitious goal of producing 300,000 tons of rice, double the current production in 2011.
According to FAO data, imports of rice in West Africa reached 6 million tons in 2001, and forecasts indicate that this figure will be 11 million tonnes in 2010.
“The best way to reduce the import bill on rice in Benin, is to exploit the full potential of the rice in the country,” FAO said.
According to FAO experts, with the increased production, Benin could not only meet the needs of local consumption but also export the surplus to the subregional and regional markets.
FAO estimates that if Benin exploits its full potential for rice production, the net increase would amount to more than $ 55 million.
The country uses only 8 percent of its potential arable land for growing rice, while FAO said thousands of hectors in the low lying flood plains remain unused.
“Rice is therefore a key priority in the plan for the agricultural sector,” FAO said.
The increased domestic production of rice was determined in an international context of rising food prices, with many countries feeling the hitch.
The FAO project, which encourages production of quality seeds and facilitate access of farmers to financing, consolidates the efforts of the government of Benin, which has an objective of the reduction on rice imports.
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