Thursday, July 15, 2010

IFAD-funded rice project makes steady progress in DR Congo, Guinea and Sierra Leone

The IFAD project to boost rice production in West and Central Africa (WCA) held its second and critical implementers’ meeting, 12-15 Jul 2010 in Cotonou, Benin.  The key themes of this meeting were to share results, to review progress and to strengthen existing strategies to sustain activities even as the project concludes.

The overall goal of this Project is to improve the contribution of rice production and post-harvest technologies for poverty reduction and food security in WCA.  Its specific objectives are to:
  • Develop comprehensive packages of NERICA seed and grain production practices and make them available to project beneficiaries
  • Build capacities of rice scientists and technicians in order to strengthen national rice research and production”
Three key studies were designed to support the on-going processes and activities, i.e. i) seed; production, distribution, capacity among local producers ii) PVS; rice varietal selection, field learning processes and iii) information; packaging, review and dissemination.  The respective studies are i) indigenous seed institutions ii) evaluation of PVS and iii) gendered access to rice information through media.

AfricaRice is implementing the IFAD WCA Project in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea and Sierra Leone through core partnerships with INERA, IRAG and SLARI respectively. Other institutions involved include NGOs, extension organizations, ministries, farmer organisations, IFAD investment projects, universities, FAO and other projects e.g. EUcord and PARSAR, and the BTC.

Key themes of the project and the main outcomes from 2009 were highlighted in the meeting by the overall coordinator based in AfricaRice. Emphasis was placed on i) access to rice seed and ii) knowledge among smallholders iii) partnerships, especially for the sustainability of the project achievements iv) activities aimed to build capacities and iv) field researches.  Details for these themes were then presented by country teams.