ACCRA, The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is holding an international workshop on “Strengthening Agricultural Statistics and Food Security Information in Coalition for African Rice Development (CARD) Countries in Accra.

The two-day workshop is being attended by participants from CARD member countries including Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Senegal and Nigeria. It is being organized by the FAO in collaboration with Ghana to enable the participants to share ideas and knowledge on improved rice production practices.

Abebe Haile-Gabriel, the FAO Deputy Regional Representative for Africa, said at the opening of the workshop here Wednesday that rice consumption in Africa was growing faster than for any other major staple food crop and that various efforts had been made to boost rice production through improving productivity, market efficiency and viable partnerships along the rice value chain.

One significant effort in this regards was the CARD initiative aimed at doubling rice production in the 10 years up to 2018, as advocated during the fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) held in 2008.

He said the Strengthening Agricultural Statistics and Food Security Information in CARD countries initiative through South-South co-operation was formulated in 2014, and had contributed to improving the capacity of CARD countries for timely collection and provision of reliable statistics on rice production.

He noted that the project had been drawing from experiences and know-how developed by the the Association of South-East Asian Nations (Asean) under the FAO’s South-South Cooperation Scheme. The FAO considers South-South Co-operation as an important mechanism for the achievement of its strategy framework, Haile-Gabriel said.

Many developing countries face similar challenges in food security and agricultural and rural development, and in many cases, the geographic, climatic and socioeconomic conditions are similar. This makes it easier to adapt successful experiences to local realities.