Friday, February 27, 2009

Stakeholders take stock of stress-tolerant rice for Africa

Stakeholders of the project on “Stress-tolerant rice for poor farmers in Africa and South Asia (STRASA) met, 26-27 February, at the Africa Rice Center regional station in Ibadan, Nigeria to review the progress made by the project and plan for 2009.

Funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the STRASA project aims to accelerate the development and delivery of improved rice varieties that are tolerant to five major stresses – drought, submergence, salinity, iron toxicity and low temperature.

Africa Rice Center is IRRI’s main partner in implementing the African component of this project. The project member countries in Africa comprise Benin, Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal in West Africa as well as Ethiopia, Madagascar, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda in eastern and southern Africa.

The project highlighted the following achievements at the meeting:
  • Production of seeds of improved and stress-tolerant varieties ready for evaluation in the project countries through farmer participatory varietal selection;
  • Training of national scientists, technicians and farmers in modern breeding approaches, improved seed production and impact assessment;
  • Implementation of improved and standardized screening facilities at the research stations of Africa Rice Center for the different stresses; and
  • Establishment of a network of national scientists and partners in the project countries

In addition to representatives from 16 sub-Saharan African countries, the President of the West and Central Africa Women Rice Farmers’ Association, Mrs Penda Gueye-Cisse as well as private seed producers were invited to the meeting to give their feedback.