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Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice)
Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice)

Since its inception in 1970, AfricaRice has been involved in genetic resources activities, specifically collection, preservation, characterization, evaluation, multiplication and distribution of promising germplasm to rice scientists in Africa and throughout the world.

Germplasm collection in West Africa by both international and national research centers started in the mid-1960s and intensified in the 1980s. Germplasm collected includes Oryza sativa, O. glaberrima, O. longistaminata, O. barthii and O. stapfii. From 1985 to 1993, AfricaRice received from NARS, IRAT, IITA and ORSTOM (IRD) over 6000 accessions consisting of O. sativa (4800), O. glaberrima (1200), O. longistaminata (10), O. barthii (6) and O. stapfii (3). New collections of landraces were made in Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea.

To strengthen genetic-resources activities, AfricaRice formally created a Genetic Resources Unit in 1999, within which the International Network for Genetic Evaluation of Rice for Africa (INGER-Africa) is nested. Today, the genebank contains close to 20,000 rice accessions. Long-term conservation is undertaken at IITA (Ibadan, Nigeria) and medium-term at AfricaRice’s temporary headquarters in Cotonou, Benin. Duplicates are planned to be kept in Fort Collins, USA.

Germplasm characterization and evaluation are on-going activities. Most of the glaberrima and modern sativa accessions have been characterized and the data included in the CGIAR’s SINGER database. A special effort is being made to screen for major diseases and environmental stresses such as acidity, iron toxicity, cold and salinity.

Over the past 10 years, AfricaRice has significantly strengthened its germplasm distribution, regional evaluation and utilization activities in sub-Saharan Africa. Improved germplasm is multiplied, processed and distributed through INGER-Africa nurseries for evaluation and utilization by national programs throughout Africa.

As a result, between 1994 and 2000, more that 200 high-yielding and stress-tolerant lines were released in Africa. Studies were initiated to better understand the ways in which local communities manage rice biodiversity, as these local practices are a key to improved in-situ conservation.

AfricaRice has played a significant role in supporting genetic enhancement activities in Africa. A tangible example is the recent development of NERICA rice from glaberrima accessions collected more than 20 years ago. Through the screening of genebank materials, genes for resistance to major diseases and insect pests such as rice yellow mottle virus (RYMV), blast and African rice gall midge are now available.

Other important aspects of the Unit’s work include the restoration of lost germplasm to war-affected countries, provision of conservation services to NARS, and training and capacity building. Better genebank management systems, and modern information and communication technologies are being used to improve seed distribution and access to rice germplasm.

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Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice)



AfricaRice is a CGIAR Research Center –
part of a global research partnership
for a food-secure future.
It is also an intergovernmental association of
African member countries.


AfricaRice Headquarters
01 BP 4029, Abidjan 01, Côte d'Ivoire
T: +225 22 48 09 10; F: +225 22 44 26 29

M’bé Research Station
01 B.P. 2551, Bouaké 01, Côte d'Ivoire
T: +225 22 48 09 20; F: +225 31 63 25 78

E: AfricaRice@cgiar.org


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