Improving food security in West Africa through resilient rice cultivation


The Adaptation Fund (AF) has just approved the “Scaling up Climate Resilient Rice Production in West Africa” (RICOWAS) project, during the thirty-seventh board meeting, held on October 19-21, 2021.

With a four-year implementation period, RICOWAS is the largest regional project funded by the AF in Africa with a total amount of $ 14 million and affecting thirteen ECOWAS countries; namely Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.

The overall purpose of the project is to improve climate resilience and increase the productivity of the rice system of smallholder rice farmers in West Africa.

The Sahara and Sahel Observatory (OSS), in its capacity as a Regional Entity Accredited by the AF, will oversee the project overall implementation. The Rice Regional Center of Specialization, hosted by the Institute of Rural Economy (IRE) of Mali, will be in charge of the regional level execution and will work in partnership with the Climate Resilient Farming Systems program at Cornell University, in the United States. 

At the country level, the following national institutions will be in charge of the project execution:

  • Benin: General Secretariat of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (GS/MALF)/National Institute of Agricultural Research of Benin (NIARB)
  • Burkina-Faso: Ministry of Agriculture and Hydro-agricultural Development/General Directorate of Sector Studies and Statistics
  • Côte d'Ivoire: Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development/National Rural Development Support Agency (NRDSA)
  • Gambia: Ministry of Agriculture
  • Ghana: CSIR-Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI)
  • Guinea: Agronomic Research Institute (ARI)
  • Liberia: Community of Hope Agriculture Project (CHAP)
  • Mali: National Directorate of Agriculture (NDA)
  • Niger: National Institute of Agronomic Research of Niger (NIARN)
  • Nigeria: Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN)
  • Senegal: National Agency for Agricultural and Rural Advice (NAARA)
  • Sierra Leone: Rokupr Rice Research Center / Sierra Leone Agricultural Research Institute (SLARI)
  • Togo: Institute of Technical Advice and Support (ITAS)

Many technical and scientific partners from the public and private sector and the civil society of the region will be involved in the project implementation, including in particular CILSS, CORAF, ECOWAS, UEMOA, AfricaRice, etc.

Preparatory activities will begin straightway and the project official start is due on the 2022 first quarter