Nearly 250 international and national rice research and development partners from the public and private sectors, including representatives of national research and extension programs of 28 African countries, are set to meet at the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice) in Cotonou, Benin, 24-27 February, to discuss roadmaps and joint action plans for large-scale development impact in Africa.
“We have adopted a new format this year for our annual research meeting to allow improved planning of collaborative activities with our partners,” said Dr Marco Wopereis, AfricaRice Deputy Director General.
“This will ensure that rice research products can be delivered as rapidly as possible into the hands of those who need them most: smallholder farmers, along with other stakeholders in the rice value chain such as millers, processors, and rice consumers.”
Committed to improving livelihoods in the continent through strong science and effective partnerships, AfricaRice is one of the 15 international agricultural research Centers that are members of the CGIAR Consortium. It is also an intergovernmental association of 25 African member countries.
The Center is implementing its Strategic Plan through the CGIAR Research Program on Rice – known as the Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP) – the Rice Task Force mechanism and a network of Rice Sector Development Hubs set up across Africa to concentrate R&D efforts and connect partners along the rice value chain.
In addition to reviewing progress in GRiSP-Africa activities and planning for 2014, the main objectives of the AfricaRice Science Week & GRiSP-Africa Forum are the following:
Carry out effective and efficient planning of research-for-development (R4D) activities in 2014 with partners
Facilitate the building up of ‘a Rice Sector Development Hub Innovation team’ in each of the 24 countries where the Rice Hubs have been set up
Determine ‘desirable outcomes’ for each Hub over the next 5 years and identify the first set of indicators to gauge progress towards these outcomes
Develop a work plan to achieve the outcomes in each Hub through dissemination of ‘scalable products’ by working with development partners from public and private sectors
Plan collaborative research activities in the various Africa-wide Rice Task Forces and identify opportunities for synergies between the Task Forces
Familiarize the participants with the AfricaRice monitoring and evaluation (M&E) tool and the Rice eHub
Rice consumption in Africa is growing faster than that of any other major staple. It is the single most important source of dietary energy in West Africa and the third most important for sub-Saharan Africa as a whole.
AfricaRice strongly believes that the rice sector development can become an engine for economic growth across the continent and contribute to eliminating poverty and food insecurity within Africa and raise the social well-being of millions of poor people.
“The focus of the 2014 AfricaRice Science Week is therefore especially important considering the designation of 2014 as the ‘Year of Agriculture and Food Security in Africa’ by the African Union and the ‘International Year of Family Farming’ by the United Nations,” stated Dr Adama Traoré, AfricaRice Interim Director General.
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