Monday, March 9, 2015

Budding women rice researchers in Africa “make it happen”

This year’s International Women’s Day theme of “Make it happen” resonates well with the initiative of the African Development Bank (AfDB) to promote the work of young women rice researchers like Gaudiose Mujawamariya and Esther Leah Achandi through the project ‘Support to Agricultural Research for Development of Strategic Crops in Africa (SARD-SC).’

Gaudiose Mujawamariya and Esther Leah Achandi received the Young Rice Scientist Award at the International Rice Congress held in Thailand, Bangkok in November 2014, for their research on “Demystification of consumer preferences for rice in urban areas of Dar es Salaam” and “Market participation by small holder rice farmers in Tanzania: A double hurdle analysis”.

“These researchers used the ‘experimental auctions approach’ to investigate how consumers value rice quality characteristics and assess the determinants of the ‘willingness-to-pay’ for alternative quality aspects of rice,” said AfricaRice scientist Dr Sidi Sanyang, who is coordinating the rice component of the SARD-SC project. Gaudiose and Esther were among 29 scientists from 19 countries who received the Young Rice Scientist Award. 

Gaudiose Mujawamariya 
Gaudiose is Rwandese. She obtained her PhD degree from Wageningen University in 2012. Since October 2013, she has been working as a Value Chain Economist at AfricaRice Regional Station in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. She is also a Fellow of the African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD).

“I want to appreciate this award as really a group work effort done with my AfricaRice colleagues Rose Fiamohe, Maimouna N’dour and Esther Leah Achandi,” remarked Gaudiose. “In a way I can say it is an ambition of women. I want whatever we are doing today translated to the beneficiaries, the farmers.”

The work of Gaudiose and Esther has shown that ‘good’ rice production in terms of quantity and quality and the existence of market and road infrastructure enhance the participation of farmers in markets.

“My study examined issues that affect the market participation of farmers in Tanzania,” said Esther. “These include the ability for them to access roads, and the presence of administrative services in the villages, as well as issues of transport infrastructure, road networks, etc.”

Esther Leah Achandi
Esther is Ugandan. She is currently employed as Research Assistant at AfricaRice in Tanzania, mainly working on gender and understanding the rice value chain. She is also a PhD Economics student at the University of Dar es Salaam with an interest in environmental economics and hopes to write her thesis on the impact of climate change on rice farmers in East Africa.

Both Gaudiose and Esther expressed their deep gratitude for the generous support by the SARD-SC project that has enabled them to contribute to rice research for development.

The SARD-SC project is implemented by three Africa-based Centers that are members of the CGIAR Consortium: AfricaRice, which coordinates the rice value chain; the International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), which coordinates the wheat value chain; and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), which coordinates the cassava and maize value chains. IITA is also the executing agency for the project.

The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) supports the three Centers for the project’s activities relating to the strengthening of the technical and commercial capacities of farmers’ organizations across the four value chains.

Listen to Gaudiose Mujawamariya talking on this occasion.

Listen to Esther Leah Achandi talking on this occasion.

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