The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has approved a €15.7-million senior loan through its private sector window to “Compagnie Agricole de Saint-Louis du Sénégal” (CASL) for a rice production project in Senegal River Valley. This project will contribute to three major priorities of the AfDB High 5s agenda: “Feed Africa”, “Industrialize Africa” and “Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa”.
Rice is a staple food in Senegal and the country has one of the highest per capita rice consumption in the world. The project aims to promote food security in Senegal through local production of white rice for the local market. It will develop 4,000 net hectares of land in the Senegal River Delta to produce 60,000 tons of paddy rice per year through irrigated rice farming, smallholder farming for a minimum of 9,000 tons of paddy rice per year; storage capacity of 30,000 tons of paddy rice and the processing and marketing of 42,000 tons of white rice per year. This is a significant development for the region as it will enable the exploitation of land that would otherwise not be put to profitable use due to the high salinity of the soil.
Mahib Cisse, Acting Manager for the Industries and Services Division of the AfDB Private Sector Department, stated that “today’s Board decision is a demonstration of the Bank’s commitment to help Africa feed itself. The Bank will continue to mobilise private sector involvement in transforming agriculture in Africa, increasing productivity of key staple crops and contributing to inclusive growth, by creating jobs in rural areas on the continent.”
Laurent Nicolas, the President of CASL, said, “We are pleased to receive the AfDB’s support on this project as it will enable us to deliver on our local production mission and processing of good quality white rice with high nutritive value for Senegal. We are delighted and committed to support the country to achieve self-sufficiency in rice production, create jobs, and help to improve the lives of people in the surrounding communities.”
The Bank will co-finance the project with the European Investment Bank (EIB). The expected benefits from the project include: enhancing local production of rice, reducing food imports with a positive impact on the balance of payments and job creation. The project will also empower smallholder farmers by providing access to water through its irrigation network, technical support and land development – AfDB