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April 15, 2024
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African Development Bank partners China on Hydro-Agricultural Rice project.

Given the key role sustainable agricultural development will play in Africa’s future, the African Development Bank has embarked on a groundbreaking partnership aimed at transforming agricultural practices across the continent.

It will be recalled, on 29 November 2021, a landmark Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the African Development Bank, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the People’s Republic of China (MARA), and The People’s Bank of China to leverage the experience of all parties, promote efficient agricultural industrial chains in Africa, and facilitate market access through the development of Agro Industrial Clusters and Special Agro Processing Zones.

The MOU lays out a comprehensive framework for collaboration focused on technology transfer, capacity building in agricultural human resources, agricultural finance, and infrastructure development. Its detailed implementation roadmap was being prepared as early as November 2023, in discussions between African Development Bank officials and the China Liaoning International Technology Cooperation Group at the Second Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Agriculture in Sanya, China.   

An African Development Bank mission led by Dr. Damian Ihedioha, travelled to explore the Guiguidou Hydro-Agricultural Rice Project area in Divo, Côte D’Ivoire from 14-15 February 2024. This project exemplifies the potential of international collaboration in enhancing agricultural productivity and sustainability.  Managed by the China Liaoning International Technology Cooperation Group, it bears witness to the impact on local agriculture of the Chinese government’s aid.

Since its inception in 1995, the Guiguidou Rice project has built irrigation systems supporting 432 hectares of rice farming and benefiting 900 local farmers. Notably, its achievements in varietal development and mechanization have set a precedent for agricultural innovation. The project’s success is marked by yields of 5-6 tons of rice per hectare.

Discussions with CLIC project manager Mr. Guo Changyou and his team during the African Development Bank mission highlighted the project’s plans for expansion, which are supported by a feasibility study commissioned by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The expansion envisions further enhancement of irrigation, mechanization, and technical training facilities, and is a significant step towards a more value chain-oriented and investment-driven model of agriculture.

The visit made clear that the Guiguidou model offers the potential for providing comprehensive support to farmers, which is an essential component of successful agro-industrialization. The AfDB team identified several areas for further collaboration with its partners, emphasizing the need for discussions with MARA to explore support for similar projects under the Bank’s proposed Regional Rice Resilient Value Chains Development Project in West Africa.

The Guiguidou Hydro-Agricultural Area project showcases the tangible benefits of international cooperation and offers a blueprint for future endeavors in sustainable agricultural development. The African Development Bank remains committed to leveraging partnerships like this one to advance the 2063 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals, ensuring a prosperous future for Africa’s agricultural sector.

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