Bouaké, Côte d’Ivoire — From 10 to 13 April 2000, WARDA hosted the First Regional Rice Research Review for West and Central Africa at its Headquarters in M’bé, Bouaké, Côte d’Ivoire. This biennial meeting is organized by the West and Central Africa Rice Research and Development Network (Réseau Ouest et Centre Africain du Riz, ROCARIZ) to bring together rice stakeholders from the region, both members of the Network and members of the broader rice research community.
Participants from within the region included more than 100 researchers and research-managers from the national research programs, national extension services, universities, non-government organizations, and the private sector. Other participants included representatives of international organizations, advanced research institutions and universities, and consultants.
The First Regional Rice Research Review for West and Central Africa marks a new chapter in regional rice research and development. Building on the successes of its antecedents, ROCARIZ aims more than ever to ensure efficient use of scarce research and development resources for the benefit of all rice stakeholders in the region, but especially for the poor rural and urban producers and consumers who depend on rice for their livelihoods and staple diets.
ROCARIZ was established in 1999, through the merger of the WARDA Task Forces and the Rice Network of the West and Central African Council for Research and Development (WECARD/CORAF).
ROCARIZ links rice stakeholders in the region to generate improved and relevant rice technologies and ensure their successful and widespread adoption. This is done through research and development activities, partnerships, and capacity and capability strengthening. The purpose of ROCARIZ is to strengthen the capacity and capability of the national agricultural research and extension services (NARES) for coordinated research planning, and technology generation, evaluation and transfer to end-users. Ultimately, this work is aimed at reducing poverty and malnutrition through enhanced rice production and market development.
ROCARIZ is a network of Task Forces. Research and development activities are regionally coordinated and conducted through seven Task Forces:
Varietal Selection (Breeding)
Mangrove Swamp Rice
Integrated Pest Management
Natural Resource Management
Crop and Resource Management in the Sahel
These Task Forces are a direct continuation of the WARDA Task Forces first established in 1991. The Task Force mechanism was developed by WARDA in response to criticism from national partners on former collaborative modes that were essentially ‘top down,’ with international centers (like WARDA) dictating the agenda. In particular, the Task Forces were designed to:
Coordinate regional research activities, thereby reducing duplication and identifying the most efficient utilization of resources among the various rice research programs in the region;
Provide national scientists with more complete and rapid access to research information and results of regional research;
Transfer and test technologies in a targeted and systematic way;
Target technical, material and financial assistance to national programs in a way that strengthens the overall regional rice research system.
First Regional Rice Research Review
The first biennial meeting of ROCARIZ enabled Network (Task Force) members to share the results of the past year’s activities carried out under the Network’s umbrella, and to plan activities for the next two years. In addition, the first meeting was presented with the historical background to the merger and creation of ROCARIZ, and the Network’s five-year strategic plan. Participants also approved rules and regulations of the new Network, and elected representative to the Network’s Steering Committee. The Steering Committee itself met on the last day of the Review.