Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Visite de la presse à AfricaRice-Cotonou organisée par l’Ambassade du Japon au Bénin dans le cadre de la TICAD VI


Dans le cadre des préparatifs pour la sixième Conférence internationale de Tokyo sur le développement de l’Afrique (TICAD VI), qui va se dérouler du 25 au 26 août 2016 à Nairobi, au Kenya, l’Ambassade du Japon au Bénin a bien voulu organiser une visite de la presse à la station d’AfricaRice à Cotonou le 29 juillet 2016.

Vieille de 38 ans, la collaboration de la République du Japon avec AfricaRice est très fructueuse et a eu un impact tangible sur les acteurs de la chaîne de valeur riz et les populations rurales de l’Afrique. Elle compte désormais à son actif de nombreux acquis dont entre autres : 
  • Les variétés productives de riz « NERICA » et « ARICA »
  • L’amélioration de la qualité du riz produit localement à travers l’attention particulière  accordée aux activités post-récoltes,
  • L’approche « Smart-valleys » pour le développement des bas-fonds
  • L’outil d’aide à la décision « RiceAdvice » pour conseiller les riziculteurs dans la gestion de la fertilité des sols et l’élaboration de calendriers rizicoles
  • L’aide technique à l’élaboration de la stratégie nationale de développement de la riziculture dans 23 pays de l'Afrique subsaharienne dans le cadre de la Coalition pour le développement du riz en Afrique (CARD)

C’est pour faire connaitre les différents fruits de cette collaboration au public à travers les média que l’ambassade du Japon au Bénin a organisé  cette visite de la presse à la station d’AfricaRice à Cotonou.

Dans son mot de bienvenue à l’égard des visiteurs, Dr Rita Agboh-Noameshie, la représentante d’AfricaRice au Bénin a fait une brève présentation du Centre avant de préciser l’objectif de cette visite: «Notre réunion a pour objectif de faire connaître l’ampleur de cette collaboration entre le Japon et AfricaRice, et vous faire découvrir les résultats obtenus, l’impact que cette recherche rizicole financée par le Japon en Afrique a pu avoir sur les acteurs de la chaîne de valeur riz et les populations rurales d’Afrique.»  

Des communications ont permis aux visiteurs d’avoir un aperçu général des  projets financés par le Japon et leurs réalisations. Les visiteurs ont vu les différents laboratoires, les ateliers et les parcelles de démonstrations. Les journalistes ont aussi visité des posters présentant les acquis des différents projets financés par le Japon.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

National stakeholder workshop on rice statistics for food security in Côte d’Ivoire held

AfricaRice and FAO are helping national authorities of Côte d’Ivoire to improve rice statistics for food security. As part of this, a national stakeholder workshop was organized on 13 July 2014 in Abidjan.

During the workshop, different survey methods for rice statistics were discussed in order to improve the data collection methods. The workshop was attended by representative of various national and international organizations.

The national organizations included the National Rice Development Office (ONDR); the National Statistics Institute (INS); Department of Statistics, Documentation and Information (DSDI) in the Ministry of Agriculture; the National Higher School of Statistics and Applied Economics (ENSEA); the Inter-professional Fund for Agricultural Research and Advice (FIRCA); and the National Center of Agricultural Research (CNRA). The international organizations included the World Bank, FAO and AfricaRice.

Following the national stakeholders’ workshop, a training course on new methods for rice statistics survey was organized on 14 July 2016. It was attended by 20 statisticians and researchers.

The training enabled the participants to learn about two new survey methods, namely dot sampling method and list frame method with actual measurement. These two methods will be pilot-tested in Gagnoa Rice Sector Development Hub with financial support from the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) through AfricaRice and from Japan through FAO.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Public-private partnership scales up use of new climate-resilient rice varieties in Uganda


The inauguration of harvesting of new high-yielding and climate-resilient upland rice varieties (ARICA-5, NERICA-4 and NamChe-3) on a 3,000-acre rice farm run by Vinayak Agro-Farm Ltd. in Northern Uganda, took place on 6 July 2016.

A delegation comprising Dr Ambrose Agona, Director General of the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO); Prof Joseph Obua, Chairman of NARO Council; Dr Asea Godfrey, Director of the National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI); and Mr Joseph Bazaale, Commissioner Seed Certification and Inspection under the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) inaugurated the harvest ceremony.

The event symbolized the success of an innovative public-private partnership to scale up new rice technologies in Uganda. It also testified to the success of the government’s strong support to the rice sub-sector in Uganda following the 2008 food crisis, when Uganda like other African countries, experienced severe shortage of rice. Since then, the Government of Uganda has come up with a range of strategies to prevent a repeat of the crisis.

NARO, with support from the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation through the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and the World Bank’s East Africa Agricultural Productivity Program (EAAPP), has focused on training a new cadre of rice scientists, addressing constraints along the value chain and developing new technologies.

This culminated in the release of new high-yielding, climate-resilient upland rice varieties with high grain quality, namely ARICA-4, ARICA-5, NamChe-2, NamChe-3, NamChe-5 and NamChe-6 in 2013.

Subsequently, Uganda embarked on a model to out-scale these technologies through an approach called the Rice Sector Development Hubs with support from the project ‘Support to Agricultural Research for Development of Strategic Crops in Africa (SARD-SC)’ funded by the African Development Bank through AfricaRice.

Under this model, two stakeholders, namely Naseco Seed Compny and a seed producers’ association (ADAG ANII), were trained and contracted to produce seed of improved varieties.

Growing commercial interest in rice
It takes time to defeat poverty and food shortage, but when you venture into commercial farming, poverty will be history in the shortest time possible and food is guaranteed," said Mr Peshwa, one of the directors of Vinayak Agro Farm Ltd, which is growing rice on large scale in Nwoya district in Uganda. 

"NARO Rice Breeder Dr Jimmy Lamo guided us well on rice cultivation. Therefore this season we expect to harvest more than 4,000 tons, even though there was drought,” Mr Peshwa added. 

“The production of rice in Uganda is estimated at 260,000 tons, leaving a gap of 40,000 tons,” said Dr Lamo.

Vinayak Agro Farm Ltd will sell locally as well as export their rice, maize and green gram. It has around 50 out-growers. The investment includes tractors, combine harvesters, seed store and factories. 

"In addition, we aim to develop interventions for economic growth by investing in agriculture for higher productivity, food security, employment, income generation and capacity building," Mr Peshwa said.  

Earlier Hon. Simon Oyet, Member of Parliament of Nwoya County, along with other local government leaders and farmers had visited the Vinayak Agro Farm and appreciated the opportunities offered by the Agro Farm, in particular relating to employment. Hon. Oyet called on more investors to negotiate with landowners and the communities directly, but not through third party, for transparent transactions.


Speaking about the benefit of Vinayak Agro-Farm, Isaac Odongo from the local community, said, “It is a good development, because there are so many out-growers, who will mill their rice here and sell."

-- Article contributed by Dr Jimmy Lamo, NARO Rice Breeder, Uganda