Friday, April 24, 2009

Strengthening national partners’ capacity in impact assessment

Strengthening the capacity of national partners in impact assessment is an important component of the Policy and Impact Assessment Program activities at the Africa Rice Center.

A training course on impact assessment was jointly organized by the Africa Rice Center, Institut sénégalais de recherches agricoles (ISRA) and the University Gaston Berger (UGB) in St Louis, Senegal, 20-24 April.

The main objective of this training course was to introduce to participants new methods and tools in impact assessment that are used for evaluating agricultural research projects.

About 20 participants from 11countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal) attended the workshop. The participants included 6 PhD students from UGB.

Helping African agriculture adapt to climate change

As part of a multi-partnership project led by the University of Hohenheim on “Developing rice and sorghum crop adaptation strategies for climate change in vulnerable environments in Africa (RISOCAS),” a workshop was organized in Cotonou, Benin, 16-17 April, to evaluate the results from the first year.

The main objective of this project is to deliver coping strategies for crop adaptation to changing climatic conditions, along with tools and methodologies enabling stakeholders to develop such strategies further, or to apply them to other crops or environments.

The project focuses on rainfed rice and sorghum and irrigated rice, which are three of the most important staple small-grain cereals in sub-Saharan Africa. For each of the three target crops and ecosystems, sets of valuable physiological and morphological traits for breeding will be delivered to breeders, along with suitable selection tools.

The project is jointly carried out by the University of Hohenheim and Africa Rice Center in partnership with the Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement (CIRAD); Université Gaston Berger, Senegal, Centre national de la recherche appliquée au développement rural (FOFIFA), Madagascar and the Institut d’économie rurale (IER), Mali.

Attached to the workshop, a training course about modeling was held, 20-24 April, to train RISOCAS project members and invited guests on existing models which will be used during later project phases.
In total, 17 participants attended the project workshop and 22 attended the training course, with a considerable number attending both workshops. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Regional harmonization of USAID-funded emergency rice project

Two regional coordination committee meetings were held as part of the USAID-funded Emergency project to boost rice production in Ghana, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal to harmonize project management, evaluation and reporting mechanisms.

The first one was organized in Cotonou, Benin (8-10 April) for Ghana and Nigeria and the second one in Saint Louis, Senegal (14-15 April) for Mali and Senegal.

The USAID-funded Emergency rice project seeks to increase rice production in the target countries as part of an overall effort to mitigate the effects of the food crisis on poor rice farmers and consumers.

The project is being carried out by the Africa Rice Center in partnership with the Catholic Relief Services (CRS), International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), and the national agricultural research and extension systems (NARES) in each of the target countries.

Friday, April 10, 2009

UNDP and Africa Rice Center team up to rebuild rice capacity in post-conflict Liberia

With support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Africa Rice Center through its African Rice Initiative (ARI) is rebuilding the capacity of smallholder rice farmers in post-conflict Liberia within the framework of the Millennium Village Project located in Kokoyah Village (KMV).

Through this collaborative project, ARI seeks to provide technical assistance and guidance across the rice value chain from seed production to harvest and post-harvest processing in close partnership with the national agricultural research and extension systems.

As part of this, a training program was carried out by ARI, 6-10 April, on quality seed production of NERICA® and other improved varieties and modern farming practices. More than 20 agricultural technicians attended the course.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Realizing the agricultural potential of inland valleys in sub-Saharan Africa

The European Commission-funded project “Realizing the agricultural potential of inland valley lowlands in sub-Saharan Africa while maintaining their environmental services (RAPS)” was launched in Benin (25-27 March) and in Mali (30 March – 1 April).

The project seeks to improve the livelihood of the rural poor by enhancing the productivity and competitiveness of inland valleys through sustainable intensification and diversification of agricultural productivity and product value chain development, while conserving land and water resources.

It is jointly carried out by the Africa Rice Center, Wageningen UR, ICRA, CIRAD and the national research and extension systems of Benin and Mali.

The use of the Participatory Learning and Action Research (PLAR) co-learning and co-innovation approaches and multi-stakeholder platforms will ensure the ownership of research results and rapid diffusion of knowledge beyond the key sites in each target country.