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Are domestic rice value chains in Africa really upgrading?

Soullier G., Lançon F., Demont M.. 2018. Singapour : s.n., 1 p.. International Rice Research Conference, 2018-10-15/2018-10-17, Singapour (Singapour).

Since liberalization, most of domestic rice value chains in West Africa are made of numerous intermediaries using little capital and supplying low quality rice. Despite several attempts of upgrading these value chains, West African States increasingly rely on imports to satisfy rice consumption. Nevertheless, the 2007 world price crisis highlighted the risks of such strategy. West African Governments subsequently implemented self-sufficiency policies aiming at upgrading domestic rice value chains. Ten years after the first world price crisis, we explore upgrading of domestic rice value chains in Africa. The theoretical framework of governance of value chains analyses the technical and organizational changes along the chain. The results presented in this paper are based on a literature review and secondary data. Governments, development organizations and private sector actors have invested significantly in rice value chain upgrading. Paddy production increased through land expansion and sometimes intensification. The processing capacity increased thanks to substantial investment in industrial and semi-industrial technologies. These investments were sometimes coupled with contract farming and vertical integration to secure paddy supplies. In certain cases, producer organization were able to integrate processing through innovative business models. These upgraded value chains supply quality rice and in some cases reward producers better than traditional value chains. Never the less, several impediments hamper competitiveness of upgraded rice value chains with imports. First, economies of scale are rarely realized because industrial mills are often unable to get enough paddy supplies. As a result, depreciation costs are high and marketing prices are inflated. Second, there are limitations to collective action that often prevent producer organizations to integrate rice husking into their business models. Third, financial arrangements offered to wholesalers are often more attractive in import value chains than in domestic value chains. Fourth, low quality infrastructure of domestic rice value chains induces spatial segmentation of end-markets, with local rice being produced and consumed in the hinterlands and imported rice being consumed in coastal areas. Further research should be conducted on upgrading rice value chains and primary data collection should be expanded to obtain more insights on how to support competitive rice value chain upgrading in West Africa.

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