Rice is a staple food in Cote d’Ivoire. Côte d’Ivoire was once a rice exporter. But, with progressive disengagement of the government from the rice sector, it has not been able to meet its own requirements and has been importing huge quantities of rice, spending nearly USD 500 million annually on rice imports in recent years. Rice imports to Côte d’Ivoire have been dropping since 2014 and government is determined to achieve self-sufficiency in rice by producing 2.0 million tons of milled rice by 2020. A real rice offensive is underway in the country. Agriculture is the backbone of Côte d’Ivoire’s economy and its robust growth is driven by sustained investment in agriculture and smallholder farmers. The sector contributes 26 percent of GDP, 40 percent of all export revenue, close 75 percent of non-oil export revenue and employs close to 60 percent of the population. The 2016-2020 National Development Plan (PND) aimed at guiding the country into emerging nation status by 2020, considers agriculture as a key pillar and specifically calls for an increase in agricultural output.
Côte d’Ivoire has been selected as the host of this year’s African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF), hailed as premier continental agriculture gathering, to be held on 4-8 September 2017. Chosen for its leadership in placing agriculture at the heart of its economic transformation, it will be the first francophone African country to host the annual Forum. Côte d’Ivoire is among a few select African countries that have made the biggest investments in agriculture resulting in sizeable increases in both farm productivity and overall economic performance. Mr. Mamadou Sangafowa Coulibaly, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Côte d’Ivoire, emphasised his country’s commitment to continually improve the agricultural sector which is key to its economic development.“Five years of significant investments through the National Agricultural Investment Plan have enabled the country to empower farmers and place them at the heart of Côte d’Ivoire’s economic transformation. The first phase of the NAIP contributed to a significant boost in our agricultural production, with more than 17 Million Metric Tonnes (MMT) of food crops in 2015 compared to 11,886 MMT in 2012. Côte d’Ivoire is committed to developing its agricultural economy,” he said.