Feasibility and Potential for Rice Fortification in Africa

Possibility of reaching 146 million people in 12 countries

16 December 2016

Outside of Asia, the highest per capita consumption of rice occurs in West African countries. Consequently in 2016, the Food Fortification Initiative (FFI) in collaboration with the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), analyzed opportunities for fortified rice to improve nutrition in Africa.

Rice is a staple food in 19 countries in Africa, but it is mostly milled in small, local operations where fortification is not feasible. Yet in 12 countries, fortification of imported rice plus the limited volume of domestically and industrially milled rice has the potential to reach 146 million people. This effort is intended to help partners develop a strategy for scaling up rice fortification in the African continent.

See the Executive Summary

In 12 of the evaluated countries, imports are a dominant source of rice for urban areas or the entire population. Domestic milling capacity to implement rice fortification is not yet feasible in any of the countries studied, so imported rice remains the main opportunity for fortification in Africa. In seven of the 12 countries, the urban population is the main potential beneficiary; the rural population either primarily consumes traditional alternative sources of carbohydrates, or farmers grow rice that is taken to small local mills for self-subsistence.

Globally, 371,704,171 metric tons of rice was available for human consumption in 2011, the most recent year with data available, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. Of that total, FFI estimates that 230,333,404 metric tons are industrially milled, yet less than 1% of industrially milled rice is fortified.

Six countries have mandatory rice fortification legislation, and most of the efforts are pilot projects or programs that provide free or subsidized food to selected populations. See this map for locations.

The list below includes all 19 countries where more than 75 grams of rice is available per person per day, according to FAO. The 12 countries in bold italics are considered opportunities for fortification of rice imports. Click the country name for more details.

Also see a supplement from Sight and Life and the World Food Programme published in December 2018.

See a proposal for funding a regional rice fortification strategy in West Africa.




Cape Verde




Côte d'Ivoire











Sierra Leone


Rice car

This car loaded with bags of rice represents the informal movement of imported rice
across borders in many African countries. Photo taken near the wholesale market
in Conakry, Guinea, by David McKee.

See more information about rice fortification.