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Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and New Partinership for African Development (NEPAD) have taken the lead to develop a new architecture - a Coalition for African Rice Development (CARD) - with the aim to set out an overall strategy and a framework for action to contribute to achieving an African green revolution through one increasingly important crop - rice.

CARD aims to respond to the increasing importance of rice production in Africa, not by ‘re-inventing the wheel’, but by building on existing structures, policies and programs, such as the national agricultural research organisation of Africa, the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice), the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) and the Africa Rice Initiative (ARI).

CARD, alongside other partners:

  • Sets the goal of doubling rice production in sub-Saharan Africa within 10 years (from the present 14 million tons/year to 28 million tons/year)
  • Is part of a consultative grouping of participating bilateral and multilateral donors of both African and international institutions working in partnership with rice producing
  • Is supported by a small secretariat within the AGRA office in Nairobi
  • Harmonises and coordinates action among donor organizations and governments for rice development in Africa

The CARD initiative was successfully launched during TICAD IV (The Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development in Yokohama, 28 - 30 May, 2008), The event was attended by a range of agricultural experts, researchers, aid practitioners and government officials from a variety of countries.


CARD Secretariat





Dr. Agnes Kalibata
Director, CARD Secretariat / President, AGRA

Dr. Kalibata is the President of AGRA (the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa); she leads the organization’s efforts with public and private partners to ensure a food secure and prosperous Africa through rapid, sustainable agricultural growth, improving the productivity and livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers.

Prior to joining AGRA in September 2014, Dr. Kalibata was Rwanda’s Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI). In this role, she was widely considered to be one of the most successful Agriculture Ministers in sub-Saharan Africa. Dr. Kalibata has held several other leadership positions, including Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Agriculture and Deputy Vice Chancellor of University of Rwanda. She also worked for the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Uganda, and various other agricultural development organizations. She sits on various boards including the International Fertilizer Development Corporation (IFDC), Bioversity International, Africa Risk Capacity, the Malabo-Montpellier Panel, and is a member of the Global Agenda Council of the World Economic Forum.

Dr. Kalibata has a distinguished track record as an agricultural scientist, policy maker and thought leader. She holds a doctorate in Entomology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.




Dr. Yusuke Haneishi
General Coordinator, CARD Secretariat

Dr. Haneishi, a Japanese national, joined CARD Secretariat as the General Coordinator in December 2018, seconded from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Dr. Haneishi began his career as a consultant for a private consulting company, where he conducted several research works in Tanzania and the Gambia. Then he moved to Embassy of Japan in Uganda as Coordinator for Economic Cooperation, in charge of donor coordination and formulation of several Japanese loan projects. In 2010, he started working as an advisor to Ugandan Ministry of Agriculture. During his five-year term, he supported the ministry for formulation of policies and strategy papers, better coordination with development partners, and revitalization of the ministry’s Mechanization Unit. From 2015 to 2018, he served as an advisor to Zambian Ministry of Agriculture. His focused areas of support among others are the formulation of strategy papers and projects especially for rice and irrigation, and the better utilization of agricultural census data. He holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from Chiba University, Japan and a MSc in Agribusiness Management from Wye College, University of London, UK.



Dr. George Bigirwa

Technical Advisor, CARD Secretariat
Interim Vice President for Program Development and Innovation (PDI), AGRA

Dr. Bigirwa, is a Ugandan national and plant pathology expert with a long career in creating and sustaining the links between public research institutions and private seed companies in the African region. Dr. Bigirwa champions AGRA’s partnerships with farmers, farmer organizations, agricultural researchers, national and local governments, businesses and community leaders in the region emphasizes that these linkages are critical to expediting smallholder farmers’ access to new and unique solutions.

He is a past Chair of the Maize and Wheat Network for Eastern and Central Africa (ECAMAW) and the East and Central Africa Rice Research Network (ECARRN) and a member of the Investment Committee for the African Seed Investment Fund.



Mr. Tomokazu Nagai
Technical Coordinator, CARD Secretariat

Mr. Nagai, a Japanese national, joined CARD Secretariat as the Technical Coordinator in October 2019, seconded from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Mr. Nagai began his career as an administrative attaché at the Japanese Embassy in France. Later, as a graduate student, he participated in a multi-disciplinary research project on beans and cowpeas, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). In 2008, he started working in a private consulting company. He conducted, among others, a survey on the profitability of irrigated rice cultivation in Mauritania. He also served as an in-house consultant in JICA, where he collected and analyzed information on a wide range of issues related to food security in Africa. In 2013, he moved to Okinawa, Japan, where he worked for public projects aiming to improve agriculture and local economy, such as a study to create a system for disseminating high quality seedlings of tropical fruits among farmers. He holds a master’s degree in Agricultural Economics from Michigan State University, USA.




Mrs. Noriko Chege
Operations Coordinator, CARD Secretariat

Mrs. Chege, a Japanese national joined AGRA as the Operations Coordinator of the Coalition for African Rice Development (CARD) Secretariat in February 2016. She has had a career in finance, starting in the banking industry in 1975. Upon relocating to Kenya in 1986, she joined Nissho Iwai Corporation, one of the then Japanese world leading trading companies, doubling as secretary and accountant. In 1992, she served as the first Chief Executive Officer of the newly constituted office of the Japanese Society of Kenya where she was charged, among others, coordinating the activities of the society until in February 2001. She worked in the tourism industry, as the Operations Manager as well as in charge of administration & finance at DodoWorld Kenya Limited from 2001 to 2013 and as the Managing Director at Touch Kenya Safaris Limited up to early 2016.