Thursday, December 2, 2010

Aligning with Global Rice Science Partnership

AfricaRice is an important partner in the Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP), which is a bold new rice research initiative that aims to lift 150 million people out of poverty by 2035 through partnership-based research and more ecoefficient production systems that are more resilient to climate change.

GRiSP was launched as the first new Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Research Program in November 2010 in Vietnam at the International Rice Congress, which was attended by a delegation from AfricaRice led by the Director General Dr Papa Abdoulaye Seck.

Describing the potential impact of this global partnership for Africa, where rice is the fastest growing food staple, Dr Seck said, “It will help reduce Africa’s current reliance on rice imports by developing its huge potential to grow more rice.”

The main architects of GRiSP are three CGIAR Centers (IRRI, AfricaRice and CIAT), CIRAD, IRD, and JIRCAS which will play a strategic role in GRiSP, with hundreds of other partners worldwide representing governments, the private sector and civil society.

IRRI will lead this initiative and also oversee the activities in Asia; AfricaRice will lead the work in Africa, and CIAT in the Latin America & Caribbean region.

GRiSP will work with quantitative impact targets and develop 26 product lines through six research for development themes:

(1) harnessing genetic diversity to chart new productivity, quality, and health horizons;
(2) accelerating the development, delivery, and adoption of improved rice varieties;
(3) ecological and sustainable management of rice-based production systems;
(4) extracting more value from rice harvests through improved quality, processing, market systems, and new products;
(5) technology evaluations, targeting, and policy options for enhanced impact; and
(6) supporting the growth of the global rice sector.

“Our research structure broadly corresponds to these themes, so it is relatively easy for us to align our research activities to the GRiSP mode,” commented AfricaRice Deputy Director General Dr Marco Wopereis at the AfricaRice Research Days, held in December 2010, in Benin.