Focus: Land Resources
Location: Tormabum, Sierra Leone
During the civil war in Sierra Leone, rice production dropped from an annual 500,000 tn. to only 180,000 tn. Although agriculture employs three-quarters of the population and generates half of the country’s GDP, most of the production relies on inefficient subsistence farming techniques.
The West African Rice Company (WARC) was created in response to the challenge of rising prices, food scarcity, climate change and depleted soils. Started in 2011 by Argentinian entrepreneurs Emiliano Mrove and Patricio Imerito with Sierra Leonean partner Dayo Metzger, WARC combines modern technology and sustainable agriculture practices to produce high-quality rice, the main staple food of the country. It includes local farmers as well as agriculture experts and it aims to create a strong, premium quality African brand linked to social development and care for the environment. The rice produced is distributed in the country to help reduce dependence on expensive imported rice.
The pilot in Tormabum covers 1,000 acres of rain-fed fields, where WARC has introduced a set of sustainable management practices adapted to small-holder farmers. The result is more rice harvested, with less water, less seeds and no agrochemicals. One of the main rice suppliers to the United Nations Food Programme in Sierra Leone today, WARC plans to expand to markets in neighbouring countries within the next three to five years.
WARC’s vision is ”to become a role model for sustainable African agriculture by creating a strong African brand linked to premium quality, social development and care for the environment”. How can the rest of the world contribute towards the fulfillment of their vision?
Environmental Impact: Sustainable rice production, improved water management, avoided use of harmful chemicals, and sustainable land use
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