Rikolto Rice Cluster’s members met in Uganda, East Africa, from 29th April to 5th of May, to discuss challenges, opportunities and evaluate progress in advancing sustainable rice programme globally. Participants also had discussions with Rikolto in Uganda’s government: private sector and farmers associations counterparts, seeking to better align Rikolto’s work with all rice value chain actors.
Rikolto Rice Cluster works within rice value chains in 9 countries: Vietnam, Indonesia, Uganda, Senegal, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Benin, Burkina Faso and Mali. Rice focal point from each countries meet twice every year to learn from each other and fine-tune rice programmes at regional, national and global level. Participants of the Uganda’s meeting were: John Ereng (Uganda), Mame Birame Ndiaye (West Africa), Louis Tchuma (RD Congo), Nana Suhartana (Indonesia), Tuan Le (Vietnam), Christ Vansteenkiste (Rice Cluster Coordinator) and Mark Blackett (East Africa).
The cluster also carried out field visits to meet rice value chains stakeholders in Uganda. We discussed the state of rice in the country with the Rice Industry Secretariat of the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) and the Uganda National Bureau of Standards. On this occasion we also shared our work on promoting Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) Standards Production. We also talked to Rice Millers Council, East Africa Grain Council, National Crops Resources Research Institutes, and private companies such SWT Tanners and Tilda to learn about current challenges in rice production. Insights also gained through the visit to Doho and Manafwa Basin farmers’ organisations who already conducted SRP pilots and Bongomin Group about biochar and rice husk management.