||In the Republic of Zambia, 53.6% of the labor force is engaged in agriculture (ILOSTAT., 2019) and the agriculture sector contributes approximately 2.7% to their GDP (Zambia Central Statistical Office, 2019). Until the recent years, Zambia as a country has experienced deficits in food production. This is mainly due to the fact that most of the farmers depend on maize production. In fact, 70% of agricultural budget was devoted to supporting maize farmers, putting significant pressure on the agricultural sectors finances. Although it is difficult to make a rapid change in this policy, the government is aiming at diversifying in the cropping system that is extremely dependent on maize in order to enhance food security.
In the 7th National Development Plan (2017-2021), rice was mentioned as one of the important cash crops and was selected as a strategic crop for "Crop Diversification" in the Second National Agricultural Policy (SNAP) for 2016-2020. Rice is genuinely becoming an important crop in the country since consumption is increasing rapidly, especially in urban areas. However, the productivity of rice in the country is quite low as 1.42 ton / ha on a national average due to improper cultivation and post-harvesting practices (FAOSTAT.,2018). This production level is lower than neighboring countries as 1.76 ton / ha in Malawi and 2.26 ton / ha in Zimbabwe (FAOSTAT.,2018). The current domestic supply of rice is 38,700 tons / year against 73,800 tons / year of domestic demand (PMRC Zambia.,2017). The shortfall is imported from neighbor countries and Southeast Asia.
In fact, Japan has been supporting rice industry in Zambia since 2009 which mainly focuses on the capacity development of extension system under the Ministry of Agriculture. MOReDeP is to utilize the said assets from previous projects and extend its efforts to farmers intensively. The Project Purpose of MOReDeP is "Rice cultivation is promoted as a cash crop "which would be achieved by 3 outputs under Research, Extension and Agribusiness. There are unique points for each component as follows;
Research: Developing rice cultivation techniques flexible and favorable to various ecologies.
Extension: Formulating "Rice Clusters" where suitable environments and technologies, skilled rice farmers and marketers linked strongly, resulting into forming large rice business area. Also farmer to farmer approaches supervised by extension officers
Agribusiness: Slogan for this component is "Take rice production as a business" aiming at Enhancing farmers business skill by accessing market information and developing own business plan so as to improve farmers income
In the 2nd National Rice Development Strategy 2016-2020 (2nd NRDS), developed by the Ministry of Agriculture emphasized importance of rice value chain. Therefore, Market Oriented Rice Development Project (MOReDeP) is the project which is in line with 7th NDP, SNAP and 2nd NRDS.
Number of rice farmers household, whose income is improved through rice cultivation, is increased in the target areas of the Project.
Rice cultivation is promoted as a cash crop in the target areas.
Rice cultivation techniques are improved in order to increase rice productivity.
Rice clusters are formulated in the target areas of the Project through dissemination of rice cultivation techniques.
Market access by rice farmers is improved in the target areas of the Project.
Inputs by JICA
Dispatch of Japanese experts/consultants
Contents of training in Japan and third countries
Provision of equipment and materials
Seminars and workshops
Inputs by Zambian side
Assignment of C/Ps
Project Offices and Station Offices