As rice has become the most rapidly growing food source in Africa, the development of rice varieties that are better adapted to production environments and consumer preferences in the continent resonates well with the theme of the 6th Africa Agriculture Science Week (AASW) underway in Accra, Ghana: “Africa feeding Africa through Science and Innovations.”
Seeds of these improved varieties – such as the five recently released ARICAs, the upland and lowland NERICAs and the Sahel series developed by AfricaRice and its partners – have been displayed at the CGIAR booth at AASW.
Some of the accessions of the AfricaRice genebank, especially Oryza glaberrima, the African rice, which is today an endangered species, are also showcased at the booth. The African rice is a rich reservoir of genes for coping with local stresses. Such genes are a potentially valuable resource for strengthening food security and for mitigating and adapting to climate change.
The AASW has brought together over 1,000 delegates from across Africa, including 60 scientists and experts from the CGIAR Consortium, representing many of the CGIAR's Centers and Research Programs.
The AfricaRice delegation is led by the Director General Dr Papa Seck, who strongly believes that Africa has the potential to not only become self-sufficient in rice, but also to become a net exporter onto the world market. “There is absolutely no reason why Africa cannot feed itself,” he stated.