Monday, June 30, 2014

Facilitating information and knowledge exchange in rice sector development

AfricaRice organized a 3-day workshop and training event on ‘Facilitating Information and Knowledge Exchange in Rice Sector Development’ in Cotonou, Benin on 25-27 June 2014. Thirteen African countries were represented by national experts on communication, ICT and knowledge management. These experts are working in ‘rice sector development hubs’. These hubs have been identified in 2012-2013 by AfricaRice member countries to ensure concentration of research efforts in strategic regions for rice sector development. This will facilitate connecting with public and private sector development initiatives, allowing for more rapid out-scaling of successful innovations and feedback to research. 

The objective of the workshop was to create a joint mechanism to i) share information and knowledge related to scalable rice technologies and activities in the Rice Sector Development Hubs in the most effective and efficient manner and, ii) to reach out to end-users of rice technologies and services, such as rice farmers, processors, agricultural machinery manufacturers, traders etc. 

Information and knowledge is most effectively shared through face-to-face interaction but large numbers of people will only benefit if this is combined using a multi-media platform using virtual access, video, radio and print.  

The Rice eHub (www.ricehub.org) established by AfricaRice is such a multi-media platform enabling countries involved to share ‘stories from the field’ in and around the Hubs and technical and institutional innovations that are making a positive difference in a systems and/or value chain context.  

The workshop enabled participants to discuss the use of video and rural radio to report on work with farming communities and to document scalable technologies taking into account local socio-economic settings. Rural radio will be used to accompany the rice community throughout the cropping season, advising on crop management practices and sharing experiences among value chain actors. 

Each country is expected to develop a ‘rice knowledge management package’ (combinations of video, rural radio, use of the Rice eHub, printed material, billboards etc.) that best fits their resources and priorities. Based on these country action plans, partners such as Farm Radio International and Digital Green will provide technical support to ensure the selected tools facilitate information and knowledge exchange with large numbers of end-users. 

The event was organized with support from the CGIAR Research Program on Rice, known as the Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP) and the African Development Bank’s project called SARD-SC.  

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Innovation systems approaches: the way forward for agricultural R4D



Emphasizing that inclusive and participatory value chain approaches and innovation platforms are the way forward for agricultural R4D, Dr Adama Traoré, Chair of the just-concluded 4th Agriculture Science Week for West and Central Africa, stated, “We are more interdependent today than in the past for achieving research impact.” Dr Traoré is the Interim Director General of AfricaRice.

Themed ‘Innovations in agro-sylvo-pastoral systems to feed West and Central Africa,’ the 4th Agriculture Science Week for West and Central Africa was organized by the West and Central African council for agricultural research and development (CORAF/WECARD) in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture of Niger, 16-19 June 2014, in Niamey under the aegis of the Head of State of the Republic of Niger His Excellency Mahamadou Issoufou.

The main objective of the Agriculture Science Week was to identify mechanisms that will enhance productivity and resilience of agro-sylvo-pastoral producers to unprecedented shocks and climate change in West and Central Africa.

Participants included government authorities, CORAF/WECARD Governing Board and the Scientific and Technical committee members, representatives of farmer organizations, national agricultural research organizations, universities, regional economic communities, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, the donor community and development partners as well as scientific and technical partners from regional and international organizations.

The Science Week was inaugurated by the Minister of State, Minister of Agriculture of Niger Mr Abdou Labo in his capacity as Acting Prime Minister, who highlighted that the theme fits well with the Niger Government’s important initiative ‘Nigeriens Nourish Nigeriens’ known as the 3N initiative.

Delivering the keynote address at the Science Week, Senegalese Minister of Agriculture and Rural Equipment and former AfricaRice Director General, Dr Papa Abdoulaye Seck advocated for increased support to agricultural research in Africa as scientists should be considered as the architects of agricultural civilization. Underlining the need for Africa to give equal importance to smallholder farming and agri-business, Dr Seck said, “Smallholder farming in our continent needs to be modernized; at the same time we should ensure that its rights are safeguarded.”

On behalf of the scientific community of West and Central Africa, a plaque of appreciation was presented for the President of the Republic of Niger for his strong support to agricultural research for development in Niger and the sub-region.  Distinguished awards were presented to Dr Papa Abdoulaye Seck, Dr Ibet Outhman Issa, Dr Djimé Adoum and Dr Adama Traoré for their support and contribution.

As part of the Science Week, AfricaRice organized a side event to highlight the contribution of research to the success of the Regional Rice Offensive initiated by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The concept has been developed in collaboration with UEMOA, the African Union, Hub Rural, ROPPA, CILSS, the national programs and AfricaRice.

The objectives of the Offensive are to sustainably increase rice production; promote the regional rice value chain; and improve the institutional environment so that it supports the development of the regional rice sector. The goal is to reach regional self-sufficiency in rice in 2018.

The Science Week provided opportunities to participants to share results and achievements of R&D activities relating to the main theme through formal presentations, exhibitions and field visits.

AfricaRice showcased seeds of improved rice varieties developed for the region as well as new innovations, including a small machine designed for the farming community for making briquettes from rice husk, which drew a lot of attention from the participants. Publications and posters were also displayed and distributed.

Immediately after the closure of the 4th Agriculture Science Week for West and Central Africa, the Eleventh General Assembly of CORAF/WECARD was held. 

Photo album : https://www.flickr.com/photos/africarice/sets/72157644796390977


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Stay connected with AfricaRice wherever you are!!

AfricaRice is introducing its new mobile website for any mobile device users with internet connectivity.

The main objective of the AfricaRice mobile website is to raise public awareness about the relevance and value of research-for-development (R4D) activities of AfricaRice and its partners to help reduce poverty, improve food security, and improve the environment in the continent.

The new mobile-friendly website will provide smartphone users with easier access to current updates and latest information on jobs, news, publications, videos, photos and podcasts.

The site has links to AfricaRice social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, Blog, and a customized newspaper built from articles, blog posts, videos and photos selected by AfricaRice and CGIAR Consortium relating to agricultural research and development.

“This is an exciting product developed by our Marketing & Communications team,” said Dr Sam Bruce-Oliver, Director of Partnership and Capacity Strengthening. “Our partners can now have up to date information from the Center wherever they are. But more importantly, as we commemorate today the World Environment Day 2014, we are happy that AfricaRice is moving towards an eco-friendly website.”

Simply visit www.africarice.org/mobile on your mobile device now! Bookmark it, or save it to your home screen for instant access.


Don't forget to explore the RiceHub and Rice Promise icons. It’s all at your fingertips.