Spillover effect - How curiosity leads to yield and quality increase

Spillover effect - How curiosity leads to yield and quality increase

Bumpy roads, small villages and elephant grass line the way from Accra down to the rural area called Fievie in the Volta Region. Only one hundred kilometers east of Ghana´s capital, you find rice fields stretching across hundreds of hectares. The dry season has just started and the rice farmers have begun to harvest. 

Rebecca Torsah, a smallholder rice farmer, sits on the edge of her rice field in the shade of an improvised awning. The 38-year old stands up and smiles proudly while glancing at her rice field, which is almost ready to harvest. Turning to her farm neighbor Julius Kwadzo Amerku, she says in Ewe, the local language: “The rice will be good this time and the yield even better.” Her expression shows relief.  

Julius is the lead farmer of his farmer cooperative and considers himself as the link between the farmers and Fysso, a paddy off-taker in the area. Fysso is a matching fund partner of the Competitive African Rice Initiative (CARI), a project, which supports trainings for smallholder farmers to improve their farming practices. Julius participated in the good agricultural practice training - and both quality and yield of his paddy increased after he applied the recommended methods. So did his income. Increasing smallholder farmers’ income is one of CARI´s main aims. Since 2014, CARI has reached more than 750,000 farmers and their families in four African countries (Ghana, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, and Nigeria) improving their livelihoods and food security. 

Over the last seasons, Rebecca had been observing the development of Julius´rice field with admiration. "His yield must have increased from 2.5 mT/ha to at least 4.5 mT/ha", she explains. Julius´very green and well-maintained field had been attracting her attention, especially in comparison with her own field, which begun to turn yellow. Out of curiosity, she approached Julius to reveal his secret.

He took a closer look at his neighbor's field and immediately instructed her to apply fertilizer to avert quality and yield loss. "Rebecca was certainly fortunate because I still had some fertilizer left," Julius says satisfied.

According to the crop calendar, it was already at the latest point to apply the fertilizer on her field, but the result was convincing."Now my whole family is looking forward to harvesting soon, considering how green and fruitful our rice field is.”, Rebecca says smiling.

Rebecca expressed her interest in becoming a member of Julius´ cooperative. Having a contract with an off-taker or a rice mill gives her the opportunity to receive inputs on a per-financed basis and to produce high quality rice. Moreover, Rebecca is looking forward to the opportunity to participate in such a training, learning more about land preparation, planting, seeds, fertilizer and harvest!

This story describes the positive spillover effects of knowledge and sustainable improvement of the rice sector as well as how curiosity leads to yield and quality increase. 

International press trip: CARI from a different perspective (El Pais)

International press trip: CARI from a different perspective (El Pais)

Another article by a journalist who joined the international press trip in Nigeria was published in the Spanish newspaper El Pais. Please follow the link to read more about: Más y mejor arroz para combatir la probreza“.

International press-trip: CARI from a different perspective

International press-trip: CARI from a different perspective

Another article by a journalist who joined the international press trip was published in the French newspaper Le Figaro. Please follow the link to read more about: Argungu participe au pari de l'autosuffisance en riz“.

Call for Matching Fund proposals! / Appel à propositions de Fonds de Contrepartie!

Call for Matching Fund proposals! / Appel à propositions de Fonds de Contrepartie!

The Competitive African Rice Initiative (CARI) wishes to announce its call for expression of interest & short concepts for Matching Fund Projects in Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Tanzania. The Matching Fund is the backbone of the CARI project. It serves as vehicle to support partners to increase the productivity along the entire rice value chain. 

Your company/organization should have a strong interest in increasing productivity along the entire rice value chain. The inclusion of male and female smallholder rice farmers in sustainable business models is a core principle of CARI.

Ideally, the MF partner should be a private sector entity or a consortium of private partners. Only in reasonably justified exceptions, public sector institutions or non-governmental organizations heading a consortium of partners can be eligible as lead MF partner. If the lead partner is not a rice mill, one of the consortium partners need to be an off-taker with whom the lead partner has a proven relationship.

Please find below further information about the Matching Fund Guidelines and the application templates. 

-          Call for expression of interest and short concept

-          Matching Fund guidelines

-          Guidelines on cost eligible for reimbursement in contracts within the CARI MF

-          Annex 1: short concept

-          Annex 2: letter of intent

If the call raised your interest and your company meets all stated requirements, please send a short concept and the signed letter of intent to: and by 28th February 2019.


L’Initiative pour un Riz Africain Compétitif (CARI) lance son avis à manifestation d'intérêt pour le Fonds de Subvention et de Contrepartie en vue de recueillir des propositions de projets dans ses trois pays d’intervention que sont le Burkina Faso, le Nigeria et la Tanzanie. Le Fonds de Contrepartie (FSC) est l'épine dorsale du projet CARI. Il soutient les partenaires pour augmenter la productivité tout au long de la chaîne de valeur du riz.

Les structures éligibles doivent être bien établies et avoir un fort intérêt à accroître leur productivité tout au long de la chaîne de valeur riz. L'inclusion des petits producteurs et productrices de riz dans des modèles économiques durables est un principe fondamental de CARI. 

Les principaux groupes cibles du FSC sont les organisations du secteur privé. Dans des cas exceptionnels dûment justifiés, les institutions du secteur public ou les organisations non gouvernementales chapeautant un consortium de partenaires peuvent être éligibles en tant que partenaires chef de file du FSC. Si le partenaire chef de file n'est pas une rizerie, il faut qu’un des partenaires du consortium soit un acheteur avec lequel le partenaire chef de fil a une relation bien établie.

Veuillez trouver ci-dessous des informations complémentaires sur les lignes directrices du Fonds de contrepartie et les modèles d'application.

-          Avis d´appel a proposition de projets

-          Directives générales sur le Fonds de Subvention et de Contrepartie

-          Lignes directrices sur les coûts éligibles au remboursement dans les contrats dans le cadre du CARI FSC

-          Annexe 1: note conceptuelle

-          Annexe 2: lettre d´intention

Si vous êtes intéressé et que votre entreprise répond à toutes les exigences énoncées, veuillez envoyer un concept court et la lettre d'intention signée à: et avant le 28 février 2019.

International press-trip: CARI from a different perspective

International press-trip: CARI from a different perspective

In November 2018, CARI welcomed six journalists from international newspapers in Nigeria. They travelled to one of CARI´s project areas in Kebbi State – where they were able to get insights into our work. The journalists had the opportunity to meet our partners KARDA and Labana as well as interviewing rice farmers and parboiling women.

Now the first two articles were published in the The Telegraph and the Swiss Newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Please follow the links to read more about: “How high-tech agriculture is transforming the fortunes of Nigerian rice farmers” (01/2019), as well as “Der Reis bringt einen Modernisierungsschub” (01/2019).

                                   Parboiling women

CARI at the AGRF 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda – Collaboration and partnership for working towards rice self-sufficiency in Africa

CARI at the AGRF 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda – Collaboration and partnership for working towards rice self-sufficiency in Africa

In recent years, Africa and the continent’s economies have shown signs of progress, which has led to improvements of livelihoods of millions of people. Nevertheless, Africa’s agricultural sector is required to not only keep pace with the economic development, but more rapidly and sustainably grow, produce higher yields, contribute to food security, deliver increased incomes, create employment and contribute to wider economic opportunities while natural resources are sustainably being managed. To overcome food shortages and transition to self-sufficiency and surpluses, the sector needs new impulses. Lead. Measure. Grow. This year’s theme of the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Kigali, Rwanda aimed at enabling new pathways to turn smallholder famers into sustainable agribusinesses. One of the success stories shared and discussed at the forum, during a morning session on 7th September 2018, was the example of the Competitive African Rice Initiative (CARI), introducing its Multi-Actor Partnership platform.

By applying a value chain approach, CARI and its public and private partners have been able to reach more than 750,000 beneficiaries since 2014, who increased their income and improved their food security. More than 143,900 low-income farmers were actively engaged into the rice value chain in four African countries: Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria, and Tanzania. More than 173,600 smallholder farmers received training in Good Agricultural Practices, and more than 137,200 in Farmers Business School. By following these practices, a remarkable increase in yield per hectare was recorded (up to 136% in irrigated and 185% in rain-fed production systems). Therefore, the first implementation phase of CARI was a fundamental success. Building on these successes, the Competitive African Rice Initiative has been commissioned for a second phase, during which knowledge exchange and cooperation will play a crucial and more important role. The exchange of experiences related to productivity, business models, use of production inputs, financial services and policy-making allows upscaling of proven approaches and fosters the rice value chain across African countries. In the Multi-Actor Partnership MAP4Rice, other rice stakeholders are actively engaged in order to collectively increase impacts for and improve livelihoods of smallholder rice farmers and their families.


A multi-actor approach with the involvement of various different stakeholder groups brings together different expertise and resources. At the joint breakfast session with the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) a high-level panel composed of representatives from various organisations discussed the important role rice plays in Africa, the transformation and leader-ship needed in order to sustainably develop the sector and the opportunities held in partner-ships. Low yields, weak processing and poor value chain linkages characterize the rice value chain in Africa. These are obstacles for overcoming the import dependency of many African countries and becoming self-sufficient. Real transformation is needed that requires shifts and rethinking. “We have no other choice”, a statement that was brought up multiple times during the discussions. It became apparent that it is insufficient to only link farmers to markets, work towards food security by continuing to implement single and delimited projects. Instead, holistic value chain approaches are required while considering multidimensional perspectives and thinking in food systems (improving nutrition and livelihoods while sustainably managing natural resources) which are to be scaled up collectively to allow a broader population to benefit. While national investments in infrastructure are needed, a regional approach for coordination and collaboration as well as good governance at all levels is key to elevating poverty. The importance of the topic for the continent is underlined by the high-ranking audience of the session. The Federal Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire , the Head of Unit and Acting Director for Rural Development, Food Security, Nutrition of the European Commission, the Lead Specialist on food security and sustainable developments at the Islamic Development Bank amongst others were highly  engaged in the discussions. All speakers emphasised their support for the rice sector and the multi-actor partnership approach.

“Nigeria imports rice worth 5 million US$ per day .” In his closing words, the Minister of the Federal Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development (FMARD) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Hon. Chief Audu Ogbeh encouraged all attending stakeholder groups in their efforts and assured his commitment for supporting the rice sector in Nigeria.

E-Agriculture Pitch – CARI unites local start-ups and the rice sector

E-Agriculture Pitch – CARI unites local start-ups and the rice sector

In order to find a local Start-up to develop an ICT based solution, CARI hosted a successful E-Agriculture Pitch in Abuja on March 8, 2018. The event was set up in collaboration with the GIZ project "Make IT" and Ventures Platform. Several promising Nigerian start-ups participated. During the event, each start-up had the chance to present their developed prototypes with the aim of improving the supply chain management for one of CARI's partners. Both, the partners and CARI have been enthusiastic about the ideas, which were pitched. In order to gain further background information, the start-ups were given the opportunity to ask the mill representatives questions. Subsequently they were given the opportunity to send in full proposals. After the revision of the proposals, the winner will be selected for piloting the solution in the upcoming wet season 2018 in Nigeria. CARI is very positive about finding a suitable and sustainable partner. Accordingly, the event was a big success!



CARI phase 2

CARI phase 2

We are happy to announce, that the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has commissioned CARI for a second phase. We are very much looking forward to continue our successful work in Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Ghana and Tanzania.