As part of a new partnership between the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) and the Africa Rice Center, a capacity building program to make the rice sector in the region competitive by improving the capacity of operators at the research and extension levels was launched.
The program is complementing the Center’s efforts to raise rice productivity in sub-Saharan Africa through the African Rice Initiative and the Emergency Rice Initiative launched in 2008 in response to the food crisis.
With support from BADEA, scientists from the Africa Rice Center and its partners imparted knowledge on Integrated Rice Management through hands-on training to more than 50 participants including about 30 women from 16 countries across SSA.
The participating countries comprise Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Togo and Uganda.
The Africa Rice Center has found that knowledge of Integrated Rice Management is crucial to bridge yield gaps in farmers’ fields through better crop management. By applying this knowledge combined with a participatory learning and action research (PLAR) approach developed by the Center, rice yields in farmers’ fields can be increased by 0.5 to 2.0 tonnes per hectare without enhanced production costs.
During the training program, which was conducted in French and English in May and June 2009, manuals on the Integrated Rice Management based on the PLAR approach as well as farmer learning videos developed by the Center were extensively used by the facilitators.