Thursday, November 15, 2018

National Rice Research and Training Center in Ethiopia Inaugurated

H. E. Mr. Gedu Andargachew (middle),
H. E. Dr. Kaba Urgessa (right), H. E. Mr. Daisuke Matsunag (left)
Ethiopia gives high importance to rice as an important food security crop.  As a testimony to this, the Fogera National Rice Research & Training Centre (FNRRTC) was inaugurated on 15 November 2018 by H.E. Mr. Gedu Andargachew, President of the Amhara National Regional State, Ethiopia. 

H.E. Mr. Daisuke Matsunag, Ambassador of Japan to Ethiopia, delegates from international organizations (JICA, AfricaRice, IRRI, Sasakawa Global 2000, etc.) and various higher officials including H. E. Dr. Kaba Urgessa, State Minister, Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, attended the inauguration.

The official inauguration was accompanied by exhibition of rice and other agricultural products and technologies, field day, and the first national conference on rice research and development. 

The national center encompasses offices, training complexes, meeting halls, library, guest houses, trainee dormitories and researchers’ residences. The construction was financially supported by the cooperation between the government of Japan and the government of Ethiopia. 

FNRRTC is mandated to serve as a national center of excellence for rice research, training and information & technology outreach for various stakeholders across the rice value chain. 

Ethiopia is the 26th member state of AfricaRice, which has been recognized as a strong partner for its contribution to the national center’s research agenda through collaborative projects and Rice Task Forces. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Building capacity of youth in rice entrepreneurship brings new hope to Senegal

Over 100 young Senegalese from the Senegal River Valley gained technical knowledge and entrepreneurial skills related to the rice value chain thanks to the project ‘Promoting youth entrepreneurship and job creation in the West African rice value chain’ (PEJERIZ).

The training course, which was conducted at the AfricaRice Regional Training Center in Saint Louis, Senegal, 15-26 October 2018, focused on entrepreneurship, integrated rice crop management, rice processing, rice commercialization and service provision.

The PEJERIZ project is a partnership between the ACP-EU Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), AfricaRice and the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture to build and strengthen entrepreneurial capacities, create market linkages and enhance livelihoods of the rural youth in Mali and Senegal by actively engaging them in the improvement of rice value chains, leading to sustainable employment and economic growth.

Africa has the largest population of young people in the world, with some 200 million aged between 15 and 24, who account for 60% of the continent’s jobless people. The need to create sustainable economic opportunities in the agriculture sector to engage rural youth is urgent. AfricaRice strongly believes that the rice sector has the potential to employ many of the 17 million young people who enter the job market in sub-Saharan Africa each year.

Specifically, the PEJERIZ course trained the Senegalese youth in principles and skills relating to entrepreneurship, leadership and personal development; basic concepts of financial management; improved cropping practices through an integrated rice management approach; rice processing and marketing techniques; and the knowledge and appropriate tools for service provision relating to the rice value chain.

The interactive course, blending theory and practical sessions, was conducted by a team of subject-matter specialists. Representatives from AfricaRice and partners such as the Regional Direction of Rural Development of Saint Louis (DRDR), the National Agricultural Research Institute of Senegal (ISRA), the National Department of Land Management (SAED) and the University Gaston Berger incubator as well as media agencies were invited.

 “Our aim is to strengthen the capacity of the youth in technical aspects relating to the rice value chain as well as enhance their entrepreneurial skills,” said Dr Mandiaye Diagne, PEJERIZ Project Coordinator. “We hope this will pave the way for a more robust rice enterprise sector and our youth can earn a decent living.”

Friday, November 2, 2018

AfricaRice trains extensionists in the use of Cropping Calendar Construction (CCC) tool

A one-day training workshop on the use of Cropping Calendar Construction (CCC) tool was held on 2 November 2018 at the AfricaRice Saint Louis Training Center, Senegal.

Twenty-six participants from the extension services of the Senegal Agricultural Research Institute (ISRA) and the National Society for Development and Exploitation of the Senegal River Delta Lands (SAED) attended the workshop.  From AfricaRice, Dr Kazuki Saito, Mr Adin Bloukounon and Dr Mandiaye Diagne participated in this workshop as trainers.

The CCC is an Excel-based tool developed by AfricaRice, which can help to investigate intensification options and optimize cropping calendar for irrigated rice-based systems (van Oort et al. 2016). The participants learned how to run this tool, optimize cropping calendar, and interpret results.

As next step, the participants are expected to identify promising calendars for their target zones in the Senegal River Valley (SRV), and these calendars will be assessed in coming years. Furthermore, feedback from the participants will help improve the functionality of this tool.

At the end of the workshop, the participants expressed their gratitude to AfricaRice for developing such a tool that will help tackle the crucial issue of managing the rice cropping calendar in the SRV.  AfricaRice thanked ISRA and SAED for their collaboration, and the trainees for their active participation and commitment to take ownership of the tool for the benefit of rice growers.

The workshop was supported by the project ‘Fostering the Impact of Rice Technologies for better Livelihoods in Sub-Saharan Africa (FIRITEL), funded by the Belgium Development Cooperation.  The FIRITEL aims to generate knowledge that facilitates informed and effective decision-making by the various rice stakeholders to support the growth of the rice sector in African countries to achieve food security and better livelihoods. The FIRITEL is being implemented in Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal during the period 2018-2021.