AfricaRice : A clarion call for greater investment in Africa’s rice sector

The 3rd Africa Rice Congress, held in Yaoundé, Cameroon, 21 to 24 October 2013, issued a clarion call to increase investments in Africa's rice sector as well as in rice-related research, extension and capacity building so that the continent can realize its rice promise. 

The Congress declaration emphasized among others the need to invest in the modernization and mechanization of Africa's rice industry and aggregation of farm output, while safeguarding land rights of smallholders and improving livelihoods. It also called for the establishment of a world-class research infrastructure in Africa for rice genetic evaluation and the strengthening of the rice hub network to achieve greater and faster impact across the rice value chain. 

More than 650 participants attended the Congress from 60 countries --including 35 African countries. They comprised rice farmers, seed producers, rice processors, input dealers, agricultural machinery manufacturers and representatives from agricultural ministries, national and international rice research and extension communities, non-governmental organizations, donors and other development partners. 

For more, listen to this podcast.

Podcast by : R.Raman, AfricaRice, Savitri Mohapatra, AfricaRice


New stress-tolerant ARICA rice varieties for Africa

The Africa-wide Rice Breeding Task Force, convened by the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice), has recently nominated six varieties with improved tolerance to environmental stresses as ARICA, which stands for Advanced Rice Varieties for Africa.

The ARICA varieties are selected through a rigorous multi-environment testing process including regional and national trials as well as participatory varietal selection involving farmers.

The varieties were evaluated through the project Stress-Tolerant Rice for Africa and South Asia (STRASA), which is helping farmers who produce their crop under predominantly rainfed conditions, in which stresses such as drought, flood, cold, salinity and iron toxicity reduce yields.

The STRASA project is being implemented by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and AfricaRice in partnership with national programs with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It covers 18 countries in Africa.

The project is linking up with various partners, including non-governmental organizations, such as the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and BRAC as well as private seed producers, such as FEPRODES and NAFASO, for dissemination of improved seed in Africa.

Listen to the comments on this exciting development from rice experts. 
Speakers in the podcast (in order of intervention)

Baboucarr Manneh, AfricaRice Irrigated Rice Breeder and STRASA-Africa Coordinator.
Kofi Bimpong, AfricaRice Molecular Biologist.
Moussa Sié, AfricaRice Senior Breeder and Breeding Task Force Coordinator
Ibnou Dieng, AfricaRice Biometrician
Gary Atlin, Senior Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Peinda Cissé, Rice Seed Producer and Founder-President of FEPRODES Women's Association, Senegal
Abdoulaye Sawadogo, Rice Seed Producer and Director of  NAFASO, Burkina Faso
Issoufou Kapran, Program Officer for Seed Production and Dissemination, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)

Podcast by : R.Raman, AfricaRice, Savitri Mohapatra, AfricaRice