Thursday, September 19, 2019

Seed enterprises from 8 African countries trained in hybrid rice seed production and quality assurance at AfricaRice Training Center in Senegal

Twenty representatives from small and medium seed enterprises, including three women, from eight countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal) participated in a training course on hybrid rice seed production and quality assurance, 2-6 September 2019, at the AfricaRice Training Center in Saint Louis, Senegal.

As part of their approach to catalyze agribusiness and entrepreneurship development in the rice value chain with the active involvement of seed enterprises, the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF) through its USAID funded Program ‘PAIRED’ and the Rice Compact of the African Development Bank-funded Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) project jointly organized the training course.

The principle behind the organization of the training course is the growing consensus among key stakeholders and scientific community is that effective scaling up of improved technologies will make a big impact on economic growth and overall livelihoods in sub-Saharan Africa.

The main objective of the training course was to strengthen the capacity of seed businesses of rice value chains to produce and market hybrid rice seeds and help contribute to food and nutrition security in Africa. The training also aimed at enabling participants to contribute to the outscaling and wide dissemination of hybrid rice technology.

The course included oral presentations and practical work in the field relating to hybrid rice cultivation, hybrid seed production and quality assurance. Discussions covered topics on licensing arrangements between research and seed businesses relating to hybrid seed production.

AfricaRice has developed many promising high-yielding hybrid lines since the initiation of its hybrid rice program for Africa in 2010 under the leadership of Dr Raafat El-Namaky, Hybrid Rice Breeder from the Rice Research and Training Centre (RRTC), Egypt, who headed the AfricaRice hybrid rice breeding program from 2009 to 2018. The aromatic hybrid rice variety AR051H, developed by AfricaRice, was released in 2017 by the Senegalese Institute for Agricultural research (ISRA) as ISRIZ 09. 

Dr El-Namaky was invited as the principal resource person for the training course. He was supported by seed specialists from CORAF and AfricaRice.

In close partnership with ISRA, the TAAT Rice Compact has developed a joint action plan to create awareness on the hybrid rice; actively engage private seed companies in partnership models for the promotion of hybrids; and develop a roadmap for the outscaling of the improved hybrid aromatic variety (ISRIZ 09) on a sustainable basis.

Based on this plan, the TAAT Rice Compact has invited interested private seed enterprises to a consultation meeting in Senegal on seed production and dissemination of the hybrid rice developed by AfricaRice in 2019. It has also organized field days at its Research Station in M’bé, Bouaké, Côte d’Ivoire, and at its Regional Center in Saint Louis, Senegal, to showcase the performance of hybrid rice varieties developed by AfricaRice.

Friday, September 6, 2019

RiceAdvice app in the spotlight at AGRF 2019 exhibition

RiceAdvice – a science-backed decision support tool that provides farm-specific advice on rice management practices in Africa – drew the attention of visitors to the booth showcasing technologies promoted under the program “Putting Research into Use for Nutrition, Sustainable Agriculture and Resilience (PRUNSAR),” at the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) 2019, 3-6 September, in Accra, Ghana.

The use of RiceAdvice, which is a free Android app developed by AfricaRice, increases yield by 0.5-1 per hectare and brings a profit margin increase of US$100-200 per ha per growing season. It has been piloted in 13 African countries and has reached about 30,000 rice farmers. Potential beneficiaries are expected to be at least 3 million households in Africa. 

The tool was showcased as part of the technologies that are being promoted by AfricaRice and its partners in Nigeria, Rwanda and Senegal through PRUNSAR, which is co-funded by the European Union and IFAD. The overall aim of the project carried out by AfricaRice is to sustainably intensify rice-based farming systems, while minimizing their environmental footprint and adapting them to climate change.

More than 2,000 high-level dignitaries and representatives of development institutions, international organizations, tech leaders, agri-preneurs, farmer associations and non-governmental organizations, among others, participated at AGRF 2019, which was organized under the theme “Grow digital: Leveraging digital transformation to drive sustainable food systems in Africa.”

A major highlight of the AGRF was the Presidential Summit – a high-level panel led by the President of Ghana, H.E. Nana Akufo-Addo. The leaders discussed what various governments are doing in the area of agriculture digitalization, including digital infrastructure and digital policies.

As part of the agenda on ‘Advancing the Continental Agenda – Partners Commitments’ within the Presidential Summit, Dr. Elwyn Grainger-Jones, Executive Director, CGIAR System Organisation, spoke on CGIAR’s involvement in agricultural research for development in Africa and its capacity to respond to the continent’s development challenges. He highlighted that by adopting the Nerica rice varieties, 8 million people were lifted out of poverty in 16 African countries and about 7.2 million people are no longer food-insecure. 

  • Scenes from AGRF 2019 
  • Dr Elwyn Grainger-Jones, Executive Director, CGIAR System Organisation speaking at the Plenary - Presidential Summit, Advancing the continental agenda - Partners Commitments, African Green Revolution Forum 2019 (AGRF 2019), 3-6 September 2019, Accra, Ghana.
    Video:  Audio podcast:

Related link: