Friday, June 12, 2009

BADEA and Africa Rice Center boost Africa’s rice research and development capacity

As part of a new partnership between the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) and the Africa Rice Center, a capacity building program to make the rice sector in the region competitive by improving the capacity of operators at the research and extension levels was launched.

The program is complementing the Center’s efforts to raise rice productivity in sub-Saharan Africa through the African Rice Initiative and the Emergency Rice Initiative launched in 2008 in response to the food crisis.
With support from BADEA, scientists from the Africa Rice Center and its partners imparted knowledge on Integrated Rice Management through hands-on training to more than 50 participants including about 30 women from 16 countries across SSA.

The participating countries comprise Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Togo and Uganda.

The Africa Rice Center has found that knowledge of Integrated Rice Management is crucial to bridge yield gaps in farmers’ fields through better crop management. By applying this knowledge combined with a participatory learning and action research (PLAR) approach developed by the Center, rice yields in farmers’ fields can be increased by 0.5 to 2.0 tonnes per hectare without enhanced production costs.

During the training program, which was conducted in French and English in May and June 2009, manuals on the Integrated Rice Management based on the PLAR approach as well as farmer learning videos developed by the Center were extensively used by the facilitators.

Dr Seck along with BADEA delegates participated in the official ceremony of the handing over of certificates to the participants. Thanking the Center for the successful capacity building program, the delegates mentioned that about 4000 African nationals have benefited from various training programs supported by BADEA.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Japan-funded Emergency project addresses Africa’s critical needs in rice seed and data

As part of its overall support to the Africa Rice Center’s Emergency Rice Initiative in response to the world food crisis, Japan is providing significant support to carry out activities in two major areas:  
  • Enhanced access to quality seed of improved rice varieties in selected countries in sub-Saharan Africa in 20 out of 21 Coalition for African Rice Development (CARD) candidate countries;
  • Collection of reliable rice data in all 21 CARD countries to support the development and implementation of national rice development strategies.
The 21 CARD countries comprise Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Liberia, Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Togo in West Africa and Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia in East Africa.

The project works in close collaboration with national research and extension systems and the private sector in the target countries.

For the seed component of this project, the West Africa regional launching meeting, followed by a training workshop, was organized in Cotonou, Benin, 27 April-1 May. The East Africa launching meeting and training workshop took place in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 4-8 May.

For the rice statistics component of this project, the West Africa regional launching meeting, followed by a training workshop, was organized in Cotonou, Benin, 11-15 May and the East Africa launching and training took place in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 1-5 June.

The project is using the Emergency Rice Initiative Spreadsheet (ERIS) that has been developed by the Africa Rice Center to assist African countries in developing strategies to boost domestic rice production.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

CFC-funded Inland Valley project workshop reviews achievements

An end-of-project meeting was held at Africa Rice Center, 3-4 June, on the CFC-funded project on “Sustainable productivity improvement for rice in inland valleys in West Africa (SPIRIVWA).”

SPIRIVWA is carried out in three in three different agro-ecologies in West Africa (savanna – Burkina Faso; intermediate zone – Côte d’Ivoire; humid forest zone – Nigeria) with the respective national partners INERA, NCRI and CNRA.

The project aims at improving inland-valley rice productivity through the development of water management structures, participatory farmer training and farmer participatory experiments with improved weed management practices.

The objectives of the workshop, which marked the final stage of the project, were to get an overview of project achievements and to discuss technical and financial reporting. It was attended by nine project participants.