Feature: Cooperation with China boosts rice harvest in Cote d'Ivoire

Source:xinhua 2024-06-11

On May 31, farmers in the Guiguidou area, Divo Province in southern Cote d'Ivoire, gathered around several brand-new agricultural machines, chatting with one another about how to use them against a backdrop of newly planted rice seedlings swaying in the wind.

"This time, we provided a batch of agricultural machinery to Cote d'Ivoire, including rice selectors, combine harvesters, rice milling machines, and 10 tons of rice seeds," said Guo Changyou, chief of the 11th Chinese Agricultural Technical Assistance Mission (MATAC) in Cote d'Ivoire, at the handover ceremony of agricultural equipment and rice seeds.

"We must take care of this gift because we produce millions of tons per year during the 2 cycles. With this donation, we will be able to improve our performance," said Alain Beugre, president of the Guiguidou Rice Farmers Cooperative.

In 1997, the Guiguidou area welcomed the first MATAC which supported local farmers in rice cultivation, repaired and maintained water conservancy facilities, and trained talents in the rice industry.

After nearly 30 years of unremitting efforts by Chinese agricultural experts, the rice varieties in the Guiguidou area have been optimized with ever-increasing quality and harvests of rice.

As stated by Zhang Jing, an expert from the 11th MATAC, four high-yield and high-quality rice varieties have been cultivated and approved by the Ivorian government and greatly improved in yield, quality, and taste compared with local traditional varieties. Among them, variety C26 can produce about 7 tons per hectare and has been widely promoted throughout this West African country.

"The certification of another new variety C10, is also nearing completion. This high-quality variety will also be widely promoted in Cote d'Ivoire, benefiting the rice industry of the entire country," Zhang added.

Nowadays, Cote d'Ivoire is working on achieving self-sufficiency in rice by 2025 and increasing its polished rice production to more than 2.6 million tons, said Yacouba Dembele, general director of the Agency for the Development of the Rice Sector in Cote d'Ivoire.

Kobenan Kouassi Adjoumani, minister of agriculture and rural development of Cote d'Ivoire, said recently that support from partners is critical for Cote d'Ivoire to increase rice production and achieve rice self-sufficiency.

Li Chengyao, economic and commercial counselor at the Chinese Embassy in Cote d'Ivoire, said the agricultural sectors of China and Cote d'Ivoire, a major agricultural country in West Africa, are highly complementary and the bilateral agricultural cooperation has broad prospects.

"China is willing to support Cote d'Ivoire in achieving self-sufficiency in rice, improving its rice product processing capacity, and becoming a major grain (producing) country," he said.


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