Representatives from 16 seed companies from Benin, Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Zimbabwe and Ghana participated in a consultation meeting on seed production and dissemination of hybrid rice developed by AfricaRice, 23-24 January 2019, at the AfricaRice training center in Saint Louis, Senegal.
Other participants included representatives from the Senegalese Institute for Agricultural Research (ISRA), the National Society for Development and Exploitation of the Senegal River Delta Lands (SAED), extension partners, namely the Senegal Regional Division of Rural Development (DRDR), seed producers’ associations, AfricaRice and the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), which is the policy enabler of the ‘Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT)’ project.
The main objective of the consultative meeting was to catalyze agribusiness and entrepreneurship development in the rice value chain in Africa by promoting the deployment of hybrid rice in farming systems. The meeting was organized by the Rice Compact of the African Development Bank (AfDB)-funded TAAT project.
In line with its mission to contribute to food security in Africa, AfricaRice has developed many high-yielding hybrid lines that have been tested in various African countries. Among these, the aromatic hybrid rice variety, AR051H, was released in 2017 by (ISRA) as ISRI 9 in Senegal.
The consultation meeting was organized as a follow-up to a technical meeting, which was organized in October 2018 by AfricaRice and ISRA in Saint Louis, to promote the production and large-scale dissemination of hybrid rice across Africa.
The main outcomes of that technical meeting were the following: 1) Create awareness about hybrid rice; 2) Actively engage private seed companies, 3) Discuss partnership models, and 4) Develop a roadmap for the out-scaling of the aromatic hybrid variety (AR051H) on a sustainable basis.
Based on the recommendations of that technical meeting, the participants of the consultation meeting discussed the issue of the status of hybrid rice in the world and agreed that the time has come for Africa to rely on high-yielding hybrid rice varieties to meet market demand and tackle food insecurity.
Discussions focused on models of custody of hybrid rice parental lines, how demonstrations should be conducted in partnership with the private sector, the need to enhance capacity of stakeholders, and how to establish sustainable seed production and supply of hybrid rice in Africa.
Some of the recommendation, which came out strongly, were the following:
- Custody of the parental lines by AfricaRice of hybrid rice varieties developed by it
- Non-exclusive license model with partners
- Reasonable license payment by SMEs
- Seed production by AfricaRice at its research stations in M’bé (Côte d’Ivoire) and Saint Louis (Senegal) in collaboration with seed enterprises
- Priority engagement with seed enterprises that participated in the consultation meeting.