Friday, February 13, 2009

Maintaining stewardship over NERICA quality

A delegation from the CGIAR Central Advisory Service on Intellectual Property (CAS-IP) led by its Project Manager Dr Victoria Henson-Apollonio met with staff from the Africa Rice Center, 13 February, in Cotonou, Benin to discuss issues relating to NERICA branding and highlight the relationship between product quality and trust building.

As the expanding range of NERICA varieties is being increasingly adopted by smallholder farmers, it is important to protect the quality associations that have been set up by the Africa Rice Center.

CAS-IP, which helps CGIAR-supported Centers manage their intellectual assets as public goods, explained that the Africa Rice Center might consider maintaining the stewardship over NERICA quality, especially concerning the quality of NERICA seed production from breeder to foundation to the certified seed that reaches the farmers.

During the meeting, the participants were informed that molecular markers that could be used to verify the identity of NERICA varieties released by the Africa Rice Center are available and that some of the African countries had in-country capacity to perform such tests. These molecular methods could be used to verify NERICA identities in addition to some phenotypic markers currently used in the field.