Thursday, September 19, 2019

Seed enterprises from 8 African countries trained in hybrid rice seed production and quality assurance at AfricaRice Training Center in Senegal



Twenty representatives from small and medium seed enterprises, including three women, from eight countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal) participated in a training course on hybrid rice seed production and quality assurance, 2-6 September 2019, at the AfricaRice Training Center in Saint Louis, Senegal.

As part of their approach to catalyze agribusiness and entrepreneurship development in the rice value chain with the active involvement of seed enterprises, the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF) through its USAID funded Program ‘PAIRED’ and the Rice Compact of the African Development Bank-funded Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) project jointly organized the training course.

The principle behind the organization of the training course is the growing consensus among key stakeholders and scientific community is that effective scaling up of improved technologies will make a big impact on economic growth and overall livelihoods in sub-Saharan Africa.

The main objective of the training course was to strengthen the capacity of seed businesses of rice value chains to produce and market hybrid rice seeds and help contribute to food and nutrition security in Africa. The training also aimed at enabling participants to contribute to the outscaling and wide dissemination of hybrid rice technology.

The course included oral presentations and practical work in the field relating to hybrid rice cultivation, hybrid seed production and quality assurance. Discussions covered topics on licensing arrangements between research and seed businesses relating to hybrid seed production.

AfricaRice has developed many promising high-yielding hybrid lines since the initiation of its hybrid rice program for Africa in 2010 under the leadership of Dr Raafat El-Namaky, Hybrid Rice Breeder from the Rice Research and Training Centre (RRTC), Egypt, who headed the AfricaRice hybrid rice breeding program from 2009 to 2018. The aromatic hybrid rice variety AR051H, developed by AfricaRice, was released in 2017 by the Senegalese Institute for Agricultural research (ISRA) as ISRIZ 09. 

Dr El-Namaky was invited as the principal resource person for the training course. He was supported by seed specialists from CORAF and AfricaRice.

In close partnership with ISRA, the TAAT Rice Compact has developed a joint action plan to create awareness on the hybrid rice; actively engage private seed companies in partnership models for the promotion of hybrids; and develop a roadmap for the outscaling of the improved hybrid aromatic variety (ISRIZ 09) on a sustainable basis.

Based on this plan, the TAAT Rice Compact has invited interested private seed enterprises to a consultation meeting in Senegal on seed production and dissemination of the hybrid rice developed by AfricaRice in 2019. It has also organized field days at its Research Station in M’bé, Bouaké, Côte d’Ivoire, and at its Regional Center in Saint Louis, Senegal, to showcase the performance of hybrid rice varieties developed by AfricaRice.