Thursday, April 27, 2017

FAO representative in Côte d’Ivoire advocates rapid scaling up of AfricaRice technologies

Mr Germain Dasylva, FAO representative in Côte d’Ivoire, visited AfricaRice main research station at M’bé, near Bouaké, Côte d’Ivoire on 20 April 2017 to get a more comprehensive understanding of AfricaRice's research-for-development activities and discuss areas for further collaboration. He was accompanied by Ms Antoinette Ziehi, FAO consultant.

The FAO delegation was warmly welcomed by Dr Olupomi Ajayi, designated by AfricaRice Deputy Director General Dr Eienne Duveiller to coordinate the arrangements for the visit.

Dr Ajayi gave an overview of AfricaRice activities and achievements, which was followed by presentations from AfricaRice experts on scalable rice technologies developed by AfricaRice, such as RiceAdvice decision support tool, ASI ricethresher, GEM parboiling technology and rice briquettes. A short presentation on the impact of AfricaRice technologies and innovations was also made.

The program included a visit to field demonstrations at the M’bé station and research facilities that are being rehabilitated as part of AfricaRice’s relocation process to Côte d’Ivoire. The visitors also had a tour of the state-of-the-art rice genebank that is being set up at M’bé.

Mr Dasylva greatly appreciated the scalable technologies, recognizing their importance for Africa. He advocated wider dissemination though promotional efforts at high-level meetings and agricultural exhibitions. FAO plays a key role in fostering partnerships for tackling issues of food insecurity, poverty reduction and sustainable agriculture.

Mr Dasylva was particularly interested to learn about the various types of technical support that AfricaRice provides to its member countries, particularly relating to varietal release and availability of seed. “This is because FAO would like to support small-scale lowland rice farmers to enable Côte d’Ivoire to exploit its huge potential of lowland,” explained Dr Ajayi.

FAO is an important development partner of AfricaRice. The two organizations have signed a MoU for scientific and technical cooperation in consolidating sustainable rice systems development in Africa during the 29th session of the FAO Regional Conference for Africa, in April 2016, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

2017 AfricaRice Dr Robert Carsky Award

Ms Maimouna Diatta, French Translator-Editor, and Dr Jonne Rodenburg, Agronomist, received the 2017 AfricaRice Dr Robert Carsky Award on 13 April at the 41st Meeting of the AfricaRice Board of Trustees, M’bé Research Station, Côte d’Ivoire.

Ms Diatta was honored for her dedicated service and commitment to excellence. Dr Rodenburg was selected for his outstanding contributions to work on weed management in rice in Africa, strong publication record, support to resource mobilization, partnerships and outreach.

The annual award, which was instituted by AfricaRice in honor of the late Dr Robert Carsky, is conferred on the most outstanding General Support Staff and the most outstanding Internationally Recruited Staff, who have demonstrated high standards of excellence and made extraordinary contributions to rice research, training and research support.

Mrs Rebecca Khelseau-Carsky was invited to hand over the 2017 AfricaRice Dr Robert Carsky Award to the winners. She also unveiled a plaque at the AfricaRice Library, dedicating the building to the memory of Dr Robert Carsky.

  • Mrs Rebecca Khelseau-Carsky speaking at the 2017 AfricaRice Dr Robert Carsky Award ceremony (click here to listen )
  • 2017 AfricaRice Dr Robert Carsky Award : Dr Samuel Bruce-Oliver  announcing the winner in the GSS category (click here to listen )
  • 2017 AfricaRice Dr Robert Carsky Award : Dr Etienne Duveiller announcing the winner in the IRS category ( click here to listen )
  • Scenes from the 41st Meeting of the AfricaRice Board of Trustees, M’bé Research Station, Côte d’Ivoire ( click here to view the photos )

Monday, April 10, 2017

Green Innovation Center for Agriculture and Food Sector: A solution to large-scale youth employment issues

Green Innovation Centers for Agriculture and Food Sector (GICAFS) have been set up in several countries under a special initiative of the Federal German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to promote innovation in the agricultural and food sectors in order to combat rural poverty and hunger.

The GICAFS-Benin, which is based at the AfricaRice station in Cotonou, has set up community teams in 21 communes in the country to strengthen innovation systems in agriculture and food sector. To closely monitor these teams, 133 young graduates from high schools and agricultural schools have been recruited.

A major objective of the GICAFS is to provide practical training to young graduates in agricultural innovations. For this, the graduates from central and southern Benin, who have been recruited for the GICAFS activities, were trained in Bohicon, from 13 to 22 February 2017, and those from northern Benin were trained in Parakou, from 6 to 10 March 2017.

It was an opportunity for the participants to become thoroughly familiar with the GICAFS objectives and activities. Presentations and hands-on courses were provided on information systems (wiki and database); the RUN business model for service provision; facilitation techniques in rural areas; farmer field school; and innovation guides relating to rice, soybean, maize, groundnut, poultry and oil palm.

These new graduates from agricultural schools and high schools are thus trained to work for eight months with 348 producer groups in the GICAFS project, in collaboration with 348 school dropouts included in these groups. Their responsibilities, relating to their respective areas of intervention, include:
  • Facilitating question and answer services for the benefit of producers in 173 arrondissements
  • Conducting practical training sessions on innovative technologies with the 348 groups
  • Conducting surveys
  • Sharing information with more than 50,000 producers
  • Collecting and exchanging data on prices and rainfall
  • Supporting the development of business plans
  • Creating a credit system at group level

It is important to highlight that the main objective of the GICAFS is to enable young people to strengthen their practical skills and develop their professional network in order to facilitate their integration into the labor market from the agricultural sector.

Centre des Innovations Vertes pour le secteur agro-alimentaire, une solution pour l’emploi des jeunes à grande échelle

Former de façon pratique des jeunes diplômés sur les innovations agricoles, c’est là ce que vise le Centre des Innovations Vertes pour le secteur Agro-alimentaire (CIVA) en organisant un atelier à Bohicon du 13 au 22 février 2017 et un autre à Parakou du 6 au 10 mars.

En effet, dans sa mission de renfoncer le système d'innovation du secteur agro-alimentaire, le CIVA a installé au Bénin des équipes communautaires dans 21 communes. Afin de pouvoir mieux suivre ces équipes 133 jeunes diplômés des lycées et écoles agricoles sont recrutés. C’est dans ce cadre que ceux du sud et du centre sont rassemblés et formés à Bohicon et ceux du nord à Parakou. 

C’était une occasion pour les participants d’avoir une parfaite connaissance du CIVA et de ses projets. Aussi, ils ont eu droit à des présentations et des cours pratiques sur les systèmes d’information (wiki et base de données), le modèle d’affaire RUN de prestation de services, les techniques d'animation en milieu rural, le champ école paysan, et le suivi des guides d’innovations des spéculations telles que le riz, le soja, le maïs, l’arachide, la volaille et le palmier à huile.

Nouvellement sortis des écoles et lycées agricoles, ces jeunes sont ainsi outillés grâce à cet atelier pour travailler pendant huit mois auprès de 348 groupements de producteurs dans le projet, et ceci en collaboration avec 348 jeunes déscolarisés inclus dans lesdits groupements. Leur mission consistera dans leurs zones d’intervention respectives à :
  • Animer les services question - réponse au profit des producteurs des 173 arrondissements
  • Réaliser des formations pratiques sur des technologies innovantes avec les 348 groupements
  • Faire des enquêtes d’exploitation
  • Partager des informations avec plus de 50 000 producteurs
  • Collecter et échanger des données relatives aux prix et à la pluviométrie
  • Apporter leur appui au développement des plans d’affaire
  • Fournir des services de synthèse de la campagne d’innovation
  • Créer un système de crédit au niveau des groupements
Pour conclure il est important de souligner que l’objectif majeur que vise le CIVA est de permettre aux jeunes de renforcer leurs compétences pratiques et de développer leur réseau professionnel en vue de faciliter leur insertion sur le marché de travail à partir du secteur agricole.