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The first CARD working week was held in Brazzaville, the Republic of Congo in May 2019

 

The first support mission to Congolese Rice development relaunch

The Republic of Congo is one of the 9 new member countries of the CARD initiative. As for all Coalition member countries, the CARD process begins with the development or revision of the NRDS by national staff, selected from different state department and non-state structures, whose complementary skills are valued within a Task Force. Congo does not yet have a rice development strategy. The country has already set up a NRDS Task Force, which is made up of members of the National Rice Development Committee (CNDR). Thus, a mission of the CARD Secretariat visited Congo from 19 to 24 May 2019 to assist the NRDS Task Force in the development of the NRDS. This is the first week of work as part of the initiative's implementation process.

Mission objective and results

This first working week is the launch of CARD process, and it aims to: (i) a good understanding of this process by national actors who are implementing it, (ii) to ensure that Task force members fully understand problems, constraints and challenges of rice sector throughout the value chain and (iii) to lay the foundations for the Congo's NRDS strategy (guidelines, plan, etc.).

Seminar on Rice Cultivation in Congo Republic

A study on rice cultivation was conducted by JICA expert, Dr. Sokei, with assistance of JICA DRC office. The seminar gathered officials from Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fishery, leaded by the Director General and other Ministries (Foreign office, Ministry of Scientific research and Innovation). The seminar highlighted the need of capacity building for rice producers and reinforcement along rice value chain to increase rice production and improve rice quality.

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                      Participants at Seminar on Rice Cultivation in Congo Republic

 

First Working week on NRDS development: This working week was held at Meeting conference of MAEP, with the participation of 11 task force members. The results of this first week of work can be summarized as follows:

  • Ministries’ staff involved in CARD process are well aware of CARD initiative, about CARD mandate and its operating modalities, as well as the limits and types of support that the Secretariat provides to CARD member countries.
  • The process of developing National Rice Development Strategy document is well initiated and owned by Congolese NRDS Task Force.
  • Capacities of national managers selected under the Task Force are strengthened in strategic planning and development of rice value chain.

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Meeting with officials or DPs

Mission met with the FAO Resident Representative in the presence of her staff. After CARD Technical Coordinator had made a clear and concise statement on what the CARD is, stating that FAO was a member of the CARD Steering Committee, FAO Representative wished to be informed of the progress of this process and expressed her willingness to support rice development process, led by MAEP and implemented by Task Force.

Mission also met with the UNDP Resident Representative, with the presence of his deputy. Although UNDP has no longer been coordinating United Nations agencies since 2018, the Resident Representative, after being aware of the purpose of the mission and the CARD initiative, has also expressed his willingness to contribute, depending on the areas in which he is involved. The UNDP office in the Republic of Congo is working to support the craft sector and youth training, and there are opportunities for synergies between actions within the framework of the relaunching of rice sector and those carried out by UNDP, which can be used to benefit Congolese rice.

Next steps of the process toward the objective

For the continuation of rice development process, another workshop is planned and task force agreed the following actions to undertake: define challenges/issues of the NRDS, identify priority areas of action, define vision and objectives, and set up quantitative objectives and spatial planning (Seeds, Irrig/Pluv.,.....). It is expected to finalize NRDS document strategy for Republic of Congo before the end of this year, this document will be submitted to a national actors, representing all entities and structures concerned in Rice sector, for an effective national ownership of this strategy and NRDS implementation.

This first working week was supported by JICA with the contribution of JICA staff from DRC during seminar related to rice cultivation study conducted by a JICA expert on rice from Cameroon.