Competitive African Rice Initiative

The Competitive African Rice Initiative (CARI) project was launched in 2013. It is part of the program Agricultural Value Chains for Sustainable Development (A4SD). CARI has just started its second phase and is currently being implemented in four African countries (see interactive map). Rice is one of the most important staple crops in Sub-Saharan Africa. In the past decades, demand for rice in the region has been growing faster than anywhere else in the world. Unfortunately, these increases in demand cannot be met by local or regional production. Average yields in Sub-Saharan Africa stagnate and lag far behind those of other rice producing areas. Moreover, poor processing and marketing infrastructure, missing access to high quality inputs as well as weak markets disadvantage local production systems. As a result, the income of smallholders is low and most of the population depending on rice production lives in poverty. Beyond that, Africa imports more rice than any other region globally.

The goal of CARI is to significantly improve the livelihoods of rice farmers (30% female) and to increase the competitiveness of the domestic rice supply to meet the increasing regional demand, which is crucial for regional food security. In order to meet these goals, the project builds on strong partnerships with local public and private stakeholders. After a very successful conclusion of the first phase of the program, the activities of CARI have been slightly adjusted and now focus on:

  • knowledge management and cooperation amongst stakeholders of the rice value chain,
  • inclusive business models and productivity,
  • access to finance, and
  • improvement of the policy framework for the rice sector.

Especially the Matching Fund remains an important tool for the implementation of project activities.

Latest News

CARI at th AGRF 2020 - Partner Event



National Learning Event on contract farming and marketing - Burkina Faso



Spillover effect - How curiosity leads to yield and quality increase




trained farmers


trained women

yield increase




income increase


job opportunities created


farmers with access
to pre-financed inputs

>11,400,000 €

official development assistance (oda)

>3,160,000 €

public partner funding

>34,400,000 €

private partners funding

cooperation with




Since the project started in 2013, CARI has had a significant impact on the livelihoods of rice smallholders. The holistic promotion of the rice value chain contributes directly to several SDGs.

Following a multi-stakeholder approach, CARI works closely with >40 partners from the private sector, civil societies, research institutes and government institutions, in order to build partnerships for the goals of the agenda 2030 (SDG 17). CARI blends >11,400,000 € official development assistance (ODA) with >3,160,000 € public partner contributions and >34,400,000 € private partner funding.

Creating jobs, increasing incomes in production which leads to improved food security, as well as the activation of partner contributions, the program also contributes to the cornerstones formulated in the “Marshall Plan with Africa”, released by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).