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Last Updated:[16-07-2009 09:08:55 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

Benin will be a Rice Exporting Nation under the FAO Guidance

tradenews According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) press release, Benin has the potential to become self-sufficient rice exporting nation in the coming years owing to its productive land banks and rice production assistance from the organization. Benin is expecting to produce 300,000 tons of rice by 2011, more than double of the current output through a $500,000 FAO project, due to begin in September 2009.

The rice initiative undertaken by FAO, Benin-based Africa Rice Center (WARDA), various Benin’s governmental organizations and several local NGOs is likely produce better results through intensified production and marketing of high quality seeds to satisfy the increasing rice demand of the West-African nation. FAO experts claimed Benin so far had just 8 percent total productive land utilization leaving more than 322,000 hectares of rice-growing land uncultivated, which had the potential to produce $55mn if fully exploited.

The release stated that Benin to achieve this ambitious goal of becoming rice exporting nation it had to annually produce more than 2,200 tons of high quality rice seeds. It is estimated that if the target seed production is met then it would suffice to cover 70 percent of domestic demand. Experts believe the increase in rice production will bring better quality of life to the farmers and dependent families in view of higher revenue and secure food source.

Currently, Benin as well as other West African nations heavily relies on rice imports. FAO figures showed that the region imported rice of around 6mn tons in 2001, and is projected to reach about 11mn by 2010. The release further asserted Exploiting Benin’s rice production potential would not only enable the country to satisfy domestic demand but also position it to export surplus output to sub-regional and regional markets.

By Jose Roy

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