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

Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP)

GRiSP: Ten Essential Conditions for Success
Dr. Papa Abdoulaye Seck
Director General, Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice)

At AfricaRice, we truly believe in the Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP), which proposes a new global approach to research. We are part of this program. We believe in GRiSP because it is vital for all of us to acknowledge not only the need but also the urgency to conduct research activities differently—to do more and to do better, given the increasing poverty throughout the world. But, to do more, and differently and better, we need to respect a number of essential success factors.

First of all, partners should be willing to share the responsibilities of the task with advanced research institutes, national agricultural research and extension systems (NARES), and other CGIAR centers, but this sharing should be backed by strong and competitive professional and interprofessional organizations. In fact, the time when agriculture was considered a strictly social sector is over; this sector must be considered an economic sector, and as such it has to deliver results.

Doing research differently, doing more and better, also means rejecting the idea that research must be conducted only by scientists. This research is so important, and so essential, that we should not take the risk of leaving it in the hands of scientists alone.

This means that our main ambition must be to use all means within this program to produce innovative systems involving the widest range of stakeholders in the generation of technological innovation and dissemination processes. We must be able to domesticate science.

The third item that is important to us is that we pass through an obligatory step—it is necessary in all circumstances to call for scientific excellence, which in the context of agricultural research means that our raison d’être is to have real impact, i.e., to make a real difference in the lives of our end users – the poorest of the poor in rural and urban areas of societies.

At AfricaRice, we believe that, without impact, there is no sustainable research. Global agriculture or global rice cultivation in particular cannot be developed without pooling intelligence. This collective intelligence will enable us to exploit comparative advantages among partners and have a critical mass, which can help us tackle more efficiently the constraints to rice production.

Therefore, for GRiSP to be truly successful and to ensure a high degree of satisfaction of farmers and consumers in Africa and Asia, in short, in the whole world, it is essential that the following ten conditions be effectively met:

THE FIRST CONDITION for the success of GRiSP is that it is necessary to exclude any hegemonic thinking from this program, because we believe at AfricaRice, that the world can evolve only through and with diversity, and it is only the synthesis of these differences that will make us move forward.

THE SECOND CONDITION implies that we take into account regional differences. Africa is not Asia and Asia is not Africa. In the same way, Latin America is neither Africa nor Asia. We should not be tailors of ready-made suits but of custom-made suits. The area of intervention should dictate the methods we adopt, and basic preoccupations on the ground should guide us even though we are in the process of exploiting complementarities.

THE THIRD CONDITION that seems essential for AfricaRice is that we should respect institutional identities. In GRiSP, all flags must fly, and we should be sensible enough to harmonize the colors. We must all co-exist.

THE FOURTH CONDITION is that there should be equity in resource allocation based on the real needs expressed by the various continents, which should be able to participate in deciding the resource allocation.

THE FIFTH CONDITION is the following: the simpler things are, the better it is for all of us. In other words, we should try to avoid bureaucracy that would increase transaction costs. We believe that research funds should be used for research and not for bureaucracy.

THE SIXTH CONDITION that seems essential is that we should respect decisions of governing bodies. This is important because, if these decisions are not respected, there will be, as mentioned above, a tendency toward hegemonic thinking and this goes against our partnership model. It leads to diluted accountability and lack of transparency.

THE SEVENTH CONDITION is that there should be a continuous effort to strengthen all stakeholders, especially African stakeholders, so that we can strengthen the operational capacity of all stakeholders who intervene in the value chain, because it is useless to have results if they are not useful and usable. And, for these results to be useful and usable, it is essential that farmers, processors, and others be adequately equipped to take ownership and adopt technological innovations that can effectively transform their lives.

THE EIGHTH CONDITION is that there is a need to have continuous dialogue with policymakers. We cannot make an impact if the environment is not conducive and adequate incentives are not available. It is policymakers who, among others, have this responsibility. We must establish in this program communication channels with policymakers. In this connection, in Africa, we have the Council of Ministers, which serves as a platform of dialogue. At each Council of Ministers’ meeting, and thanks to the work of the AfricaRice policy team, we have a direct dialogue with 24 ministers, in which we present a comprehensive analysis of the current situation of rice production and propose solutions to change things, and formulate a number of concrete and pragmatic recommendations to optimize the rice sector in our region.

THE NINTH CONDITION concerns the important role that the NARES should play in this program. The time when the NARES were considered as consumers of ideas is over. What we need today is NARES that are both consumers and producers of ideas. And, for NARES to become producers and consumers of ideas, it is necessary within this program that they have the means to effectively express their creative genius like their peers.

THE TENTH CONDITION is to break with the trend of overassessments and reporting in which scientists spend more time in preparing their assessments than in doing research. To avoid all this, rules must be defined, and we should trust each other. Effective mechanisms should be established so that we can check whether we are on the right track.

The ten conditions mentioned can be summarized in one sentence: “Partnership is not something that is superimposed on research activities.” Real partnership is an integral part of research activities that are conducted by the common will of collaborating scientists, to find common solutions to rice farmers’ constraints in the world.

GRiSP can help us make truly significant advances. However, the most important thing is not the relevance of the program, but our willingness to take charge of that program and meet the planned objectives.

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grisp-africa resources
  GRiSP Website
    GRiSP flyer
    2011 GRiSP Annual Report
    GRiSP: Ten Essential Conditions for Success by Dr. Papa Abdoulaye Seck, Director General, AfricaRice
    Dix conditions essentielles pour la réussite du GRiSP Dr. Papa Abdoulaye Seck, Directeur général, AfricaRice
  News Release
    Rice experts in Africa adopt a new way of doing business for greater impact
    Les experts riz d’Afrique adoptent une nouvelle façon de faire les choses en vue d’un impact plus grand
    AfricaRice takes the lead in global research alliance to urgently address Africa’s rice challenges
    AfricaRice prend les devants de l’alliance de la recherche mondiale en vue de relever urgemment les défis de la riziculture en Afrique
    Africa’s rice stakeholders root for mechanization
    Les acteurs de la riziculture en Afrique encouragent la mécanisation
    Presentations from the GRiSP mechanization workshop
    Scenes from the GRiSP-Africa Science Forum
    Scenes from the GRiSP mechanization workshop
    AfricaRice Director General Dr Papa Seck's opening speech at 2012 GRiSP-Africa Science Forum
    AfricaRice Director General Dr Papa Seck's closing speech at 2012 GRiSP-Africa Science Forum
    Closing remarks : 2012 AfricaRice Science Week and GRiSP-Africa Science Forum
    Overall impressions : 2012 AfricaRice Science Week and GRiSP-Africa Science Forum
    GRiSP-Africa Videos
Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice)



AfricaRice is one of the 15 international agricultural research Centers that are members of the CGIAR Consortium.
 It is also an intergovernmental association of
African member countries.


Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice)
01 BP 4029, Abidjan 01, Côte d'Ivoire
T: +225 22 48 09 10; F: +225 22 44 26 29;

01 B.P. 2551, Bouaké 01, Côte d'Ivoire
T: +225 31 63 25 78; F: +225 31 63 28 00;

E: AfricaRice@cgiar.org


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