Zambian Government Launches
National Rice Development Strategy (NRDS)
On 8th September 2011, the Government of the Republic of Zambia formally launched the National Rice Development Strategy (NRDS) in Lusaka. The NRDS was formulated with the cooperation of the Government of Japan and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) as part of the Coalition for African Rice Development (CARD) initiative. The aim of CARD is to facilitate the doubling of rice production in Africa for the next ten years in line with the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) Yokohama Declaration of May 2008. The Embassy of Japan and JICA Zambia Office were invited to officiate at the ceremony because of the significant role they had played in the formulation of the NRDS.
In recent years, rice consumption has become increasingly popular among Zambians resulting in higher demand their production can keep up with. In addition, the expansion of rice production has been increasing its importance from the perspective of promoting crop diversification as a food security initiative being pursued by the Zambian government. In view of these developments it has become imperative for the Government of the Republic of Zambia to develop a specific strategy which would facilitate increased production of rice.
Over the years, Japan has been cooperating with Zambia in the cultivation of rice in Mongu in the Western Province of Zambia. Recently, the Japanese government has also expanded cooperation to the dissemination of NERICA rice which was developed under cooperation between Japan and Africa as suitable varieties under environment in Africa. Since NRDS was formulated with the assistance of Japan, it is well positioned as one of the main pillars of Japan's contribution to the enhancement of rice production in Zambia.
In addition to promoting improved varieties of rice, NRDS is expanding the utilization of all the three types of land comprising rain-fed wetland, rain-fed lowlands and irrigated land in order to triple crude production of rice to 126,000 tons per annum from the current 41,000 tons by 2018. The Zambian government intends to achieve the goals of NRDS by expanding rice production, cooperating with JICA’s technical cooperation projects (RESCAP and FODIS) as well as in cooperation with other donors and the private sector.
The launching ceremony was attended by more than 200 stakeholders, including officials from the Government of Republic of Zambia and representatives of agricultural organizations, NGOs and private sector. The participants made valuable contributions to NRDS implementation modalities. The magnitude of attendance reflected the hope and expectations of the people of Zambia to make possible to attain further food security through increased rice production as one of the strategies.
It is hoped that the NRDS will contribute significantly to the attainment of food security in Zambia, through increased rice production, thereby contributing to the development of the Zambian economy as a whole as well as to the further strengthening of the cordial relations existing between Japan and Zambia.