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

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

  • Countries :Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania

Status: Ongoing (April 2019 -April 2022)
Funder: USAID through AGRA
Scope: Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania

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


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

Funder: USAID through AGRA

Scope: Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania

Duration: 3 Years (April 2019- April 2022)

Project Summary

The Competitive African Rice Initiative in East Africa (CARI-EA) Project is a 3-year project 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) with a total funding of US$ 3.13 Million, and jointly implemented by Kilimo Trust and the EAC Secretariat.

The central aim of CARI-EA is to enable 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. One of the key initiatives that the project will explore is to work with large businesses currently invested in the rice importation business, to attract them to increase sourcing and marketing of rice produced locally in the region. The second strategy will focus at rice millers as the central drivers of the competitiveness levels required to substitute imports. Finally, the project will also explore ways to increase manufacturing of tertiary products from rice to expand markets.  

Project Goal   

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.

Target Beneficiaries

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) – 40% women and at least 25% young people. CARI-EA will also impact 21 SMEs of millers-agro-processors and supplies of inputs and technologies – together estimated to employ about 500 - women, men and young people in EA.

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.

Role of government in the project

  • The EAC and Governments of the Partner States will support Public-Private Partnership framework for the development of the rice industry in respective country to benefit from the available regional market
  • Improved planning, coordination, execution, and performance of government agriculture programs focusing on rice sector
  • Facilitate Project implementation team to understand the policies and regulation frameworks of participating EAC member states governing the rice sector
  • Support in guiding SMEs to invest in areas suitable for enhancing rice production in the countries


Project Objectives:

  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


Main Outputs:

  1. Sustainable structured trade partnerships between buyers (manufacturers, millers, and traders) and suppliers (farmers and local aggregators) established in all EA countries
  2. Good manufacturing practices for paddy milling promoted, to enhance competitiveness in quality and price preferred by most consumers (most of them low income earners in urban areas).
  3. At least three rice brands and two manufactured rice products, developed for EAC regional markets.
  4. At least 120,000 VC actors in EA are accessing finance and other financial Products (including insurance).
  5. Demonstration sites for improved competitiveness (enterprise size, varieties, GAP, mechanization, and PHH) established in all targeted countries.
  6. Enhanced supply of mechanization systems and services for rice.
  7. EAC Regional rice platform established and strengthened to support free regional trade of rice
  8. Traceability and certification technologies for rice is promoted, especially to deal with the issue of “certificate of origin” which is currently the most serious NTB affecting rice trade in the EAC.

Expected Outcomes:

  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


Contact Person

Rachel Ajambo
Project Team Leader, CARI-EA

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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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