According to the latest information available, it has been reported that the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) is expected to disburse a total of US$3.6 million to support the implementation of the rice development project (RDP) in the next five years. Further, the Government has launched the second national rice development strategy (SNRDS) with an objective to increase local rice production by 2020.The Japanese government, in partnership with other stakeholders, formed the Coalition for African Rice Development (CARD) initiative with a goal to double Africa’s rice production by 2018. During the launching of SNRDS yesterday, Japanese Ambassador to Zambia Kiyoshi Koinuma narrated to capitalize on the successes of the previous Japanese projects in the country, RDP will focus on the distribution and growth of rice production.
Further, in this matter, it has been emphasized that Japan intends to play its part in implementing projects in Zambia, and early this year, JICA launched the RDP, which is expected to run until 2019. It has been revealed that the agency will disburse a total of US$3.6 million during the duration of the project, as stated by Mr. Koinuma .On the launching ceremony of the project it was told that the aim of the SNRDS is to increase sustainable rice production and to develop a value chain for crop diversification.This strategy will not only enhance rice production, but it will also increase food security and will contribute to the overall development of the Zambian economy, as narrated by Mr. Koinuma. While officiating at the event, Minister of Agriculture Mr Given Lubinda informed that 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 Government.
Furthermore, Mr. Lubinda explained that in view of this development, it has become important for Government to develop a specific strategy that will facilitate increased production of rice across the value chain. It would recognizethe JICA for the technical support towards the rice strategy development process, the World Bank and the International Fund for Agriculture Development for the financial support which they are offering through various projects in promoting the rice value chain, as it was stressed.