Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Japanese Ambassador to Benin visits AfricaRice

A delegation from the Japanese Embassy in Benin, led by the Ambassador, His Excellency Daini Tsukahara, visited AfricaRice on 26 March 2013 to get an overview of the Center’s research activities. Japan has historically been the most important donor of AfricaRice and has played a significant role in its development.

Extending a warm welcome to the Ambassador, AfricaRice Director General Dr Papa Seck said, “Japan and AfricaRice have forged one of the most productive partnerships for rice research and development in sub-Saharan Africa.”

“For more than three decades, we have worked together to improve food security, reduce poverty and promote the sustainable use of natural resources in the region through high-quality research,” Dr Seck added.

The delegation had a guided tour of the various laboratories and experimental fields at AfricaRice, accompanied by AfricaRice Deputy Director General Dr Marco Wopereis, as well as by Japanese Program Leaders and scientists working at AfricaRice: Drs Takashi Kumashiro, Koichi Futakuchi and Kazuki Saito.

The visit reaffirmed the strong ties between Japan and AfricaRice. “We were very impressed with the meticulous research work on rice that is being carried out by AfricaRice,” the Ambassador said after his visit.

“Japan has a long tradition of rice production and has a wealth of knowledge and experience about it, so we are very happy to support the research activities of AfricaRice and thus contribute to enhancing food security in sub-Saharan Africa.”

Referring to the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V), which will be held in June 2013 in Yokohama, Japan, the Ambassador explained that improving food security in sub-Saharan Africa is one of the main priorities of this initiative.

Ambassador of Japan in Benin, visiting AfricaRice
(from left to right)
Dr Koichi Futakuchi (Sustainable Productivity Enhancement Program Leader, AfricaRice),
Dr Takashi Kumashiro (Genetic Diversity and Improvement Program Leader, Africarice),
H.E. Daini Tsukahara (Ambassador of Japan in Benin),
Gérard Zoundji (Embassy of Japan, Benin),
Kei Yoshimura (Embassy of Japan, Benin),
Dr Papa Abdoulaye Seck (Director General, AfricaRice),
Dr Marco Wopereis (Deputy Director General, Africarice) and
Kazuki Saito (Agro-physiologist, AfricaRice)

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