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The 1st working week on NRDS Elaboration in Gabon

News from Gabon Republic’s NRDS development: CARD’s first support mission to Gabon on Rice development

The Republic of Gabon has joined CARD initiative in its second phase (2019-2030). CARD’s support process to Gabon has begun with technical support to the national staff on development of a National Rice Development Strategy (NRDS) document. Gabon Republic has a National Strategy for Agricultural Development (SNDA), but does not yet have a specific strategy for rice development. The country has already set up a task Force for developing the NRDS. The CARD Secretariat visited Gabon from 7 to 13 July 2019 to assist the NRDS Task Force on the development of the NRDS. This is the first week of work under the CARD initiative's support process to Gabon.

Mission objective and results

The objectives of the first working week are: (i) to ensure that the taskforce members have a good understanding of the CARD process, (ii) to ensure that the task force members fully understand problems, constraints and challenges faced by the stakeholders of the rice value chain and (iii) to identify priorities for a quick but sustainable rice production, in quantity and in quality.

First Working week on NRDS development: The first working week was held at Boulevard Hotel, at Libreville, with the participation of 12 task force members. Following statements were pointed out during the workshop:

Although rice is ranked as the second most important food crop for the country's self-sufficiency and food sovereignty, presently only a very low level of domestic production is observed. This weakness is due to low levels of efficiency at all levels of the rice value chain: production, harvesting, and post-harvest handling, processing and marketing. The taskforce members noted that the current national seed system needs to be strengthened and there is an urgent need to promote local producers of certified seeds of locally adapted rice varieties.

There is a lack of human resources in all segments of the rice value chain, Gabonese youth are not attracted to the agricultural sector, even less to the rice farming. The rice farming in Gabon is predominantly traditional and needs to be partly mechanized in order to get a good yield in both rain-fed and irrigated rice ecosystems.

National and regional markets for rice exist and Gabon has great production potential in terms of water and land resources to meet its rice consumption needs in the medium term. 

The results of this first week of work can be summarized as follows:

Ministries’ staff and other human resources involved in CARD process are well aware of the CARD initiative, about CARD’s mandate and its operating modalities, as well as the limits and types of support that the Secretariat provides to CARD member countries.

The process of developing NRDS document is well initiated and owned by Gabonese NRDS Task Force.

Capacities of national managers selected (public and private sector) under the Task Force were strengthened in strategic planning and development of rice value chain, through their participation in the CARD working week.

Meeting with officials

Meeting with Chief of staff of The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fishery and Food (MAEPA).

Mission met also the Chief of staff of Minister’s cabinet, and was accompanied by JICA representative in Gabon, JICA program officer and General Director of Agricultural Development Agency (ADAG) of Gabon, the NRDS Focal point. The Chief of Staff has expressed Minister’s personal interest in rice development, with the aim of meeting the national rice needs through local production. He assured the mission of Minister's full support for NRDS development and its implementation process.

Next steps of the process toward the objective

A second working week is planned for the continuation of the NRDS development process. The task force members have agreed to undertake the following actions: define challenges/issues of the rice value chain, identify priority areas of action, define vision and objectives for the NRDS,  and set up quantitative objectives and spatial planning (Seeds, Irrig/Pluv., mechanization, postharvest handling, processing, marketing, etc.). It is expected that the NRDS document for Republic of Gabon will be drafted and finalized by the end of January 2020. The draft NRDS document will be shared with various national actors, representing all entities and structures along the rice value chain for an effective national ownership of the NRDS its implementation.