Stream B - Inclusive Markets & Value Chains

Inclusive agri-food systems can reach, benefit, and empower the population, especially the socially and economically disadvantaged groups and individuals in the society, both producers and consumers, helping to contribute to multiple Sustainable Development Goals. This session will focus on how inclusive rice-based markets and value chains can bring a wide range of economic and development benefits. It can create better income opportunities, thereby reducing hunger and poverty. Key actors can spark innovation in the production and consumption of healthy foods, thus improving nutrition for both producers and consumers and boosting the incomes of smallholder farmers and other rice value chain actors.

In East Africa, rice-based agri-food systems are now at a critical juncture: the scale and the pace of change taking place in regional, national, and local food systems are unprecedented. These systems are evolving quickly to meet the growing and changing demand, but they are not serving everyone’s needs. This challenge is compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. As the international community battles the pandemic and as African economies and livelihoods are disrupted, poor and vulnerable people are likely to suffer the most. Addressing the immediate impacts of this shock – from supply chain and trade disruptions to severe unemployment to rising poverty levels – urgently requires effective, targeted policy interventions to protect the most vulnerable in the short term. For long-term resilience, as we transform rice-based systems through investments in new technologies and new market arrangements, we must also ensure that they are more sustainable and inclusive for smallholder farmers, women, youth, and other poor and marginalized groups, allowing them to ‘Step Up’ their on-farm operations and ‘Step Out’ of non-farm enterprises, including agro-processing, value addition, and trading.

Thus, an inclusive value chain approach can zoom in on the ‘hidden middle’ of the rice value chain, including processing, distribution, and services. As rice value chains become longer and more complex in response to urban demand, there will be a critical need for ensuring food safety and quality through regulation, certification, and inspection as well as innovations for storage and transportation. Investing in the institutions and infrastructure needed to serve urban markets represents a potential ‘triple win’ for job creation, consumer health, and import substitution linked to rice agri-food systems.

This thematic stream will draw on new empirical evidence and case studies from various countries in East Africa to analyze, understand, and identify the challenges and opportunities for creating new pathways to more sustainable and inclusive rice-based market arrangements at local, national, and regional levels.

Attendees will learn:

  • Including marginalized people in rice value chains and local and regional markets can help them secure well-paying jobs – both on and off-farm – and make gains in other areas that affect long-term livelihood outcomes, including income and asset accumulation, labor and employment, and food and nutrition security.

  • A value chain approach is key to designing inclusive rice-based systems – from improving farmers’ access to resources and information to creating off-farm jobs and enterprises in the midstream of the rice value chain.

  • Inclusive rice-based value chains can increase the stock of both men’s and women’s tangible assets and those assets they own jointly – allowing them to ‘Step Up’ their on-farm operations by investing in improvements in rice production and productivity and ‘Step Out’ into non-farm enterprises, including agro-processing, value addition, and trading.

  • Expanding the ‘Hidden Middle’ of the rice value chain, particularly processing, is where the potential for creating new enterprises and jobs is greatest.

  • Marginalized people can be empowered to make strategic choices about their farming and processing operations, giving them a voice in decision-making processes, which can help hold governments accountable for the delivery of inclusive rice-based systems.

  • Evidence-guided innovations, delivery, and policy reforms to promote inclusive value chains and market arrangements could help close the gap between rapidly growing demand and national and regional rice self-sufficiency.

19 May 2021

Virtual | East Africa Time (GMT+3)

13:30 - 15:00

Session B1

Rice Commercialization and Livelihood Outcomes

Chair: Dr. John Thompson, CEO, Agricultural Policy Research in Africa Programme of the Future Agricultures Consortium and Senior Fellow, Institute of Development Studies, United Kingdom


  • Rice Commercialization and Livelihood Outcomes: Key Trends and Lessons from Ethiopia and Tanzania - Dr. Aida Isinika, Professor, Sokoine University of Agriculture and APRA, Tanzania


  • Dr. Paul Amaza, University of Jos, Nigeria

  • Mr. Julius Wambura, Chairman, Rice Council of Tanzania

Q&A and take away messages

Presentation overview

Rice Commercialization and Livelihood Outcomes: Key Trends and Lessons from Ethiopia and Tanzania

Agricultural commercialization is widely pursued by may countries because it has been associated with significant poverty reduction and livelihood improvement across the globe. Rice commercialization is therefore promoted and supported for similar reasons. However, not everybody benefits from commercialisation processes due to resource constraints and power relations within families and communities. Some of the negative effects of agricultural commercialisation have included marginalization in land ownership, increasing food insecurity, increasing gender inequality among others. For this reason, it is imperative that agricultural commercialisation processes should be managed through policy and institutional instruments. This presentation mainly draws from data collected at study sites in Tanzania and Ethiopia under the Agricultural Policy Research Programme (APRA). The purpose of the studies was to assess the level of rice commercialisation attained by different categories of farmers and the impact of such commercialisation on their livelihoods, measured by different indicators, including the MPI, food security and women’s empowerment. The presentation examines the levels of rice commercialisation in light of prevailing policies, levels of input use, investment in private and public goods as well as other institutional factors.

Rice is one of the leading food crops in Tanzania where it is also an important cash crop in producing areas. Meanwhile, rice production is a fairly recent phenomenon in Ethiopia, but its importance is growing very fact, attributed to the gains realised by early adopters and investment by processors as well as other public goods. The analysis shows temporal dynamics of rice commercialisation, identifying factors that enhance the process while also pointing out categories of famers who may be struggling to be included and factors that impede their efforts to commercialise and benefit in terms of livelihood improvement. Farmers and other actors along the rice value chain in both countries have responded by investing more in production and value addition. At the farm level there are ongoing processes of intensification and extensification. Both have positive and negative effects which need to be managed for sustainability of rice value chains within the region. The analysis shows further that while rice commercialisation has been important for livelihood improvement, it has also been complimented by income from other sources, including non-farm income. In Ethiopia, the productivity and price advantage presented by rice has resulted in significant changes of the farming system in the Fogera hub, replacing livestock and traditional crops in the lowlands and traditional crops upland. This has led to significant livelihood impacts including improved food security and nutrition, land tenure changes, labour markets, rural urban linkages and changes in consumption patterns. In both countries, there is much potential for upgrading the rice value chain through managed area expansion as well as productivity and quality improvement. However, there is need ensure sustainability and resilience of production systems, equity of value chain actors while remaining competitive in terms of quality and price.

About the presenter

Aida Cuthbert Isinika is a retired professor of Agricultural Economist from Sokoine University of Agriculture, with more than twenty years of experience in teaching, research and consultancy. She holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics from the University of Kentucky, USA. Prior to that, she earned an M.Sc. in Agricultural Economics, also from the University of Kentucky and a B.Sc. in Agriculture from the University of Dar-es-Salaam. She taught production economics at the undergraduate and post graduate level. Her research and consultancy assignments have among others involved resource use efficiency, agricultural productivity, food security, natural resources management, gender and equity and land tenure. Since 2002 she was the team leader in Tanzania for the AFRINT research project, involving eight other African countries. This panel study lasted for fifteen years, producing several publications including three books. She is currently the national lead for the Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) research projects both funded by DIFD/FCDO. She is the author of more than 40 academic publications including journal articles, book chapters and working papers. Her specialty includes project planning, monitoring and evaluation, which has enabled her to teach and serve as a consultant in more than 20 projects/programmes undertaking project identification, planning, evaluation and backstopping in agriculture and natural resources management. She has also been directly involved in providing leadership in rural development work, serving as District Agricultural Officer earlier in her career, and as a project coordinator of an Agricultural project under Oxfam GB Tanzania.

15:00 - 16:30

Session B2

Marketing and Value Addition: The Experience of Rice Processors

Chair: Mr. Gem Argwings-Kodhek, Agribusiness Advisor, Akabia Agriculture


  • The role of small-scale processors in supporting agricultural commercialisation among smallholder rice farmers in East Africa: Lessons from Ethiopia and Tanzania - Dr. Dawit Alemu, Manager, Bilateral Ethio-Netherlands Effort for Food, Income and Trade (BENEFIT) Partnership and Country Lead for Ethiopia, Agricultural Policy Research in Africa Programme of the Future Agricultures Consortium

  • Marketing & Value addition "The Experience of Rice Processors in Uganda" - Philip Idro, Ambassador, Upland Rice Millers Company Limited


  • Dr. Edgar Twine, Associate Principal Scientist, AfricaRice

  • Dr. Ruth Musila, Plant Breeder - Rice and Maize, Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization

Q&A and take away messages

Presentation overview

The role of small-scale processors in supporting agricultural commercialisation among smallholder rice farmers in East Africa: Lessons from Ethiopia and Tanzania

In this presentation, we examine the role of rice processors as key actors in rice sector development in East Africa, based on primary data generated from surveys and key informant interviews in Ethiopia and Tanzania in 2018. We specifically characterise rice processors in terms of (i) socio-demographics, technological ownership, commercial behaviour and its implication for rice production, (ii) the role they play in rice marketing (both paddy and milled rice), and (iii) the main challenges the rice processors face in establishing and growing their operations along with ensuring the competitiveness of domestic rice with imported rice. The results indicate that if the rice sector is to contribute better at country and regional level, the multifaceted challenges facing the rice processing industry need to be addressed, specifically there is a need: (i) to modernise and build the capacity of rice processors to ensure the competitiveness of domestic rice with imported rice; (ii) to standardise the key requirements for licensing a rice processing facility and incentivise processors for improved technological investment; (iii) concerted public support in enhancing the transfer and adaption of rice technologies and their management practices along with ensuring alignment of the efforts of development partners, (iv) to design incentive mechanism for quality paddy rice production by farmers and quality milled rice production by processors, and (v) the public sector like Ministries of Agriculture to adapt and promote an improved paddy and milled rice marketing system.

About the presenter

Dr. Dawit Alemu is an agricultural economist currently serving as Manager for the Bilateral Ethio-Netherlands Effort for Food, Income and Trade (BENEFIT) partnership program in Ethiopia and engaged with Future Agricultures Consortium (FAC) of Institute of Development Studies, UK as member and country lead of APRA. He has served as chairperson of the Ethiopian National Rice R&D taskforce for about 8 years and currently serves as a resource person for the taskforce. As former senior researcher and Director of the Agricultural Economics, Extension and Gender Research Directorate of the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR), he has extensive publications.

Presentation overview

Marketing & Value addition "The Experience of Rice Processors in Uganda"

Rice was grown and processed in East Africa in relatively small quantities as it was majorly imported, and eaten mainly by urbanites. The surge to grow the industry locally came around 2002 when EAC countries saw a huge influx of rice imports in late 1990's. The Governments reacted by imposing a Common External Tariff (CET) that raised the price of imported rice to the extent that it local rice prices soared thereby encouraging farmer to invest in production. Support by donors, research scientists and extension staff led to further increases in local production. Investments in modern milling machines by private sectors made the local rice quality compete favorably with imports.Since then the Industry has grown exponentially.

Cracks in the industry started to appear recently when it was apparent that Tanzanian investment in rice at farmer level made their rice cheaper and so more competitive than all others in the market. The demand for Asian rice within the regions has since been reduced by the budding growing Tanzanian rice industry. This has also negatively affected rice growing and so milling in Uganda and other regional markets.

There is need to therefore look at this success story and fine tune it so that Tanzanian rice exports does not kill the rice industries in other countries since Africa still imports a lot of rice.

The above history reflects the strategic experiences of the processors, while operational challenges also have their own story to tell.

About the presenter

Ambassador Philip Idro is the Director of Upland Rice. He served Uganda at national and Global levels as Chairman of Moyo District Council, Commissioner of the National Electoral Commission, Director General Of Internal Security and Uganda’s envoy to China, where he was one of the architects of the current China-Africa relationship charter, FOCAC. He has been an Advisor to the Rockefeller Foundation, Director of Eastern African Grain Council, Member of the Presidential Investors Round Table, and is now Board Member of AfricaRice and Chairman Rice Millers Council of Uganda. Ambassador Idro’s in-depth knowledge of global phenomena and high caliber analytical skills has contributed immensely in developing Uganda’s rice industry.

He formed Upland Rice Millers (URMC) to enable local rice compete with imports. Ambassador Idro's vast networks, excellent interpersonal skills, and lucid understanding of sociocultural context have aligned farmers, donors, and value chain players into high-velocity growth with mutually inclusive profits.