In recognition of the growing importance of rice as a strategic crop for food security and poverty reduction in Africa, the African Union Commission (AUC) and AfricaRice signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to jointly promote the rice sector in the continent through research, development, supportive policies and capacity building.
The MoU focuses on three main areas:
- Policy research and analysis
- Promoting production technologies and agricultural innovation systems
- Provision of policy communications and facilitating dialogue to inform and improve the design and implementation of food and agricultural policies in and among the Member States of the African Union (AU).
Hailing this collaboration as a “historic achievement”, Dr Papa Abdoulaye Seck, AfricaRice Director General remarked, “This will help create the political will to move Africa’s rice sector forward.” The MoU was signed at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia by HE Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, and by Dr Seck, on behalf of AfricaRice’s 24 member states.
The signing ceremony was followed by a technical meeting to explore areas of collaboration, including the development of a regional value-chain approach and a common market initiative for rice as part of the existing partnership between the AU Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture (AU-DREA), FAO and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) to develop regional value chains for strategic agricultural commodities.