Three varieties developed through collaboration between the AfricaRice Sahel Station and the Institute d’Economie Rurale (IER) Mali have been released in Diré in the Tombouctou Region of Mali. WAS 62 (WAS 62-B-B-14-1-4-2), WAS 49 (WAS 49-B-B-9-1-4-3) and WAS 197 (WAS 197-B-6-3-11) were selected through the participatory varietal selection (PVS) approach. The varieties were released at a ceremony held on 6 January, attended by 40 participants from various stakeholder organizations, including government officials, farmers, rice farmers’ associations, chambers of agriculture, extension officers, scientists, local and international media representatives. Local names were selected on the basis of comments of the farmers who conducted the PVS trials: WAS 62 = Sutura (meaning quietude); WAS 49 = Saku (satisfaction); and WAS 197 = Wapmo (WAAP rice). The latter (an aromatic rice) was released in Senegal in 2009 with the name Sahel 177.
The ceremony was organized jointly by the Regional Agricultural Research Center (CRRA) in Gao and the West Africa Agricultural Programme’s (WAAP) National Rice Center (CNS-Riz). The ceremony was opened by Barema Diallo, who was representing the regional governor.