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February 01, 2009

Mozambique to benefit from $4.2 billion African rice development credit

Mozambique is among eleven African countries to benefit from a US$4.2 billion credit line provided by the Coalition for African Rice Development (CARD). The project aims to drastically reduce Africa’s reliance on expensive rice imports through the development and distribution of the new resilient rice varieties for the continent’s smallholder farmers.

A CARD press statement says that the funding announced in Abuja, Nigeria by the coalition’s representative, Hiroshi Chioroka, will also support investments in agricultural research and rural infrastructure.

The coalition, which comprises of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), launched the CARD project in May last year that will provide a variety of measures to increase rice production in the continent. "The Japanese government will also provide a US$150 million to fund technical cooperation and an additional US$100 million to support World Bank rice projects in Africa through the Japanese Finance Ministry", said Chioroaka.

Countries to benefit from the US$4.2 billion credit line are Mozambique, Cameroun, Ghana, Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, Nigeria, Kenya, Senegal, Serra Leone, Tanzania and Uganda.

The project will also invest in new post-harvest technologies to improve processing and infrastructure, including much-needed irrigation systems, and market information for grain traders. The initiative also hopes to begin introducing renewable energies such as solar and micro-hydropower in farmer communities that lack reliable energy sources needed to process the rice.

African Press Association

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