Competitive African Rice Initiative in East Africa Project (CARI-EA)

Competitive African Rice Initiative in East Africa Project (CARI-EA)

  • Countries :Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania


The Competitive African Rice Initiative in East Africa (CARI-EA) Project is a 3-year (2019-2022) project that aims at enabling locally produced rice in East Africa to competitively substitute the current over 300 million US$ worth of rice imports to the East Africa Common Market. CARI-EA is commissioned by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) strategy of Promoting Inclusive Transformation in Africa (PIATA).

The project  is jointly implemented by Kilimo Trust and the EAC Secretariat. Directly, the project will support the transformation of 220,000 smallholder-farming households directly (150,000 SHFs in Tanzania; 50,000 SHFs in Uganda and 20,000 SHF in Kenya). Indirectly, the project will benefit another 440,000 households (300,000 in Tanzania; 100,000 in Uganda and 40,000 in Kenya) – through the systemic change in market, trading, rice products, financial, inputs and knowledge systems to be developed. However, through spill-over effects, of a better regional rice trading system, CARI-EA, will influence the entire rice 3 Million MT/year industry of locally produced Paddy in the EAC, made of 2.7 Million smallholder farmers; more than 1,500 SMEs of millers; and other actors.

The project goal:

The overall goal of this project is to Contribute to Inclusive Transformation of the Rice Sector in East Africa for Sustainable Increase in Incomes of 220,000 Women, Men and Young People Employed in the Value Chain of Locally Produced Rice in the East Africa Community.

Specifically, the project activities are to:

  1. Increased productivity, commercialization, profitability, and resilience for enterprises smallholder producers of rice.
  2. Strengthened and expanded access and competitiveness in the national and regional markets for the locally produced rice.
  3. Strengthened local, national, and regional enabling policy and institutional environment for optimal commercialization of the rice sector.

Project outcome:

  1. Capture at least 20% of the rice imports (US$ 60 Million/year) and replace with rice from paddy locally produced in the EAC.
  2. Large importers of rice into EAC, are sourcing at least 30% of supply from locally produced rice
  3. New Investment into the rice value chain to the tune of USD 10 million leveraged from private sector investors.
  4. 50% increase in incomes of the targeted SHFs.
  5. Strengthened and expanded business development, financial and risk management services in rice value chain
  6. Reduced post-harvest losses along the entire value chain.
  7. Increased adoption of technologies and practices enhancing productivity and reduction of post-harvest losses.
  8. Reduction of trade barriers in the EAC because of strengthened national and regional agricultural policy environment.

What has been achieved so far:

  • 22 business consortia have been established by the project to date (i.e., Uganda -6, Kenya -4, and Tanzania -12.  Our partners are;  i) in Uganda - Upland Rice Millers, Diners Group Ltd, ZAABTA, Equator Seeds Ltd and A K Purongo Ltd and Ssunad Ltd ii) in Kenya - Mwea Rice Growers Multipurpose. COFA Cooperative Society, Nyabon Enterprizes and Tag Ahero CBO in partnership with western millers limited; iii) in Tanzania - RM Holdings Ltd, Kyela Rice Processors Ltd, Musoma Food Company Ltd, Ruaha Milling Company Ltd, Faki Rice and Milling Enterprises Ltd, One Goal Company Ltd, Wami Valley Growers and Processors Company, Alaska Tanzania Ltd, Busega Mazo Ltd, Nondo Company Ltd, Kishapu Food Processors Ltd and Mamboleo Farm Ltd. In total, these will directly integrate at least 211,649 SHFs and the project will leverage at least USD 2,759,366 from matching fund partners. 
  • 62 companies were profiled, and several are in partnership with the established consortia.
  • 1,920 training sessions involving 71,256 farmers were conducted to increase farmers’ capacity on business skills, GAP, record keeping, group dynamics and demonstration of good postharvest handling practices especially drying and use of tarpaulins.
  • Farmers traded 58,936MTMT of locally produced paddy valued at USD 20,825,179 through structured markets while 54,870MTMT of milled rice valued at USD 37,537,988 were traded by millers.  At the same time, over 15,700MT of quality agro-inputs (seed & fertilizer) accessed by farmers.
  • A total of $ 6,830,857 worth of loans was accessed by value chain actors’ financial institutions. In total, 22,871 value chain actors (8,684 women & 2,269 youth) accessed financial services.
  • CARI-EA project has leveraged a total of USD 2,416,753 from public & private sector investments.
  • EAC Regional Rice Platform was constituted and operationalized with 12 members, 2 from each Partner States representing public and private sectors while EAC Regional Rice Development Strategy Development (EARDS) is progressing with CARD Secretariat; all partner states developed SWOT analyses of the rice sector in the respective countries and held validation meetings to ground truth the countries’ SWOT with industry practitioners.
  • CARI-EA has attracted support from the Executive Office of the President of Kenya hence:
    • All Government institutions to buy rice from farmers through their cooperatives.
    • Cooperatives to mop up, mill and sell the rice to Kenya National Trading Corporation (KNTC), a government owned agency/parastatal.
    • By May 2020, KNTC had bought over 700MT of rice worth Ksh.130 Million (1.3M USD)
    • Released Ksh.500M (5M USD) towards the proposed rice revolving fund.
    • The Kenya Power & Lighting Company (KPLC) to change the power tariff from domestic to industrial rates for rice millers.
    • Construction of Thiba Dam in Kirinyaga and lining of irrigation canals by the National Irrigation Board (NIB) expedited.

Contact Person

Rachel Ajambo -

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Kilimo Trust Head Quarters
 Plot 42 Princess Anne Drive, Bugolobi, Kampala Uganda
  Telephone: +256 392 264 980/1/2

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