Tuesday, November 5, 2013

FAO DG pledges to work with AfricaRice to support rice strategies for the future

FAO Director General Dr José Graziano da Silva visits AfricaRice, Cotonou, Benin

Congratulating the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice) for its commitment to improving food security in Africa, Dr José Graziano da Silva, Director General of the Food andAgriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), stated during his visit to the Center, “We wish to join our efforts with AfricaRice to support rice strategies for the future.”

“Rice is a staple food in parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America where two thirds of the world’s hungry people live,” the FAO Director General remarked. Highlighting the major challenges facing rice production, such as water scarcity and salinity, which are predicted to increase because of climate change, he proposed that FAO could be a partner, particularly in knowledge on policy advice.

After extending a warm welcome to Dr Graziano da Silva, AfricaRice Interim Director General Dr Adama Traoré, said that FAO and AfricaRice have been closely collaborating in several areas, such as the collection and conservation of rice genetic resources, the development of rice seed systems, NERICA dissemination efforts and the Emergency Rice Initiative in Africa after the 2008 food crisis.

“The most recent example of partnership was the successful co-organization of the 3rd Africa Rice Congress that was held in Cameroon from 21-24 October 2013,” Dr Traoré said.

The Congress recommendations specifically address the need for FAO to play a more prominent role in stimulating national, regional and global partnerships to develop Africa’s rice sector, as part of the efforts of the Coalition of African RiceDevelopment (CARD) and under the overall umbrella of the Comprehensive AfricaAgriculture Development Programme (CAADP).

The FAO delegation had a guided tour of the experimental fields and the rice genebank at AfricaRice. The visit reaffirmed the strong links between FAO and AfricaRice. “The visit despite the short time was very useful to demonstrate the commitment of the researchers and all staff to support rice productivity increase, especially in the Sahel. I hope that our partnerships will improve in the future for achieving food security for all,” Dr Graziano da Silva observed.

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