Cotonou, Benin — At the just concluded Africa Rice Congress in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, organized by the Africa Rice Center (WARDA) under the aegis of the Tanzanian Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Cooperatives, a set of strategic resolutions were adopted that have far-reaching implications for the future of rice research and development in Africa.
Resolutions of the First Africa Rice Congress
- This Congress resolves that, given that Africa has to import almost 50% of the rice it needs and that demand is increasing at the rate of 6% per year, rice should be one of the cornerstones of a Green Revolution for Africa that anticipates the needs of future populations.
- This Congress seeks to transform the low level of available scientific expertise in sub-Saharan Africa where there are only 83 scientists per million people, compared with 1100 scientists per million in industrialized countries and 785 per million in Asia, and the Congress resolves that for the Green Revolution to succeed in Africa, a new capacity-building program focusing on the development of a multi-disciplinary cadre of scientists and extensionists is urgently needed.
- This Congress resolves that to accelerate farmer adoption of New Rices for Africa (NERICA) varieties and other improved technologies, concerted actions by a broad partnership including governments, research institutions, NGOs, the private sector, local, regional and international organizations are needed. The Congress recognizes the value of micro-financing and participatory learning as powerful means both for technology dissemination and for developing appropriate infrastructure to improve access to seeds, fertilizers, mechanization and market systems.
- The Congress is deeply appreciative of the support and hospitality of the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania. It recognizes the role played by the Africa Rice Center (WARDA), not only in African agriculture and, therefore, in the continent’s economic growth but also in providing leadership in rice science and development. Desirous, therefore, of the necessity for the Center to continue to provide such leadership in rice development in Africa, the Congress resolves and urges all stakeholders to maintain the Center’s identity, as previously resolved by the WARDA Council of Ministers in September 2005 and the National Experts Committee in June 2006, and to strengthen its capacity for the welfare of African rice farmers.
Congressional Honor for Dr Nwanze
Prof. Richard Musangi, Chair of the Committee of Eminent Persons of the Africa Rice Congress bestowed the Congressional Honor on Dr Kanayo F. Nwanze, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to rice research and development in Africa during his term as the Director General of the Africa Rice Center (WARDA) from 1996 to 2006.