20 July 2011
African Union and AfricaRice sign
MoU to promote Africa’s rice sector
In recognition of the growing
importance of rice as a strategic crop for Africa’s food security
and poverty reduction, the
African Union Commission and the
Rice Center (AfricaRice) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
to jointly promote the rice sector in the continent through
research, development, supportive policies and capacity building.
The MoU focuses particularly on the following three areas:
Policy research and analysis;
Promoting production technologies and agricultural innovation
Provision of policy communications and facilitating dialogue to
inform and improve the design and implementation of food and
agricultural policies in and among the Member States of the African
Hailing this collaboration as a “historic achievement,” Dr.
Papa Abdoulaye Seck, AfricaRice Director General remarked, “This will
help create the political will to move Africa’s rice sector
Despite significant increases in domestic rice production in many
African countries during 2008 and 2009, the region still imports
nearly 40 percent of the rice it consumes, which makes it highly
exposed to international market shocks.
“However, Africa can turn around the situation as it possesses a
large reservoir of underutilized agricultural land and water
resources, and many technological options, developed by AfricaRice
and its partners, are already available,” said Dr. Seck, explaining
that the collaboration with the African Union would facilitate the
required link with policy-makers to transform the rice sector.
The MoU was signed at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,
by H.E. Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and
Agriculture, and by Dr. Seck, on behalf of the Center’s 24 Member
The signing ceremony was followed by a technical meeting to explore
areas of collaboration, including the development of a regional
value chain approach and a common market initiative for rice as part
of the existing partnership between the African Union Department of
Rural Economy and Agriculture (AU-DREA), the
Food and Agriculture
Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the
Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) to develop regional value
chains for strategic agricultural commodities.
Dr Tumusiime considers AfricaRice an important new partner in this
multi-institutional platform. She recognized the important role that
AfricaRice as a Center of Excellence has played through its
development of the NERICA rice varieties and the continued need for
the Center to help intensify rice cropping in a sustainable manner,
contribute to capacity building across the value chain and develop
favorable policy frameworks.
“Today, the African Union Commission gets an opportunity to take one
concrete step towards the achievement of a vision that both our
institutions share: one of an Africa free from hunger and poverty,”
stated Dr. Tumusiime.
AFRICAN UNION SIGNS MoU WITH AFRICA RICE CENTER TO ENHANCE FOOD
SECURITY IN THE CONTINENT
Scenes from African Union and AfricaRice MoU signing ceremony
The Consultative Group on
International Agricultural Research (CGIAR)
is a global partnership that unites
organizations engaged in research for
sustainable development with the funders of this
work. The funders include developing and
industrialized country governments, foundations,
and international and regional organizations.
The work they support is carried out by 15
members of the Consortium of International
Agricultural Research Centers, in close
collaboration with hundreds of partner
organizations, including national and regional
research institutes, civil society
organizations, academia, and the private sector.
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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.
The Center was created in 1971 by 11 African countries. Today its
membership comprises 25 countries, covering West, Central, East and
North African regions, namely Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central
African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo,
Egypt, Gabon, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia,
Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Rwanda,
Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo and Uganda.
AfricaRice temporary headquarters is based in Cotonou, Benin; research
staff are also based in Senegal, Nigeria, Tanzania, Côte d’Ivoire,
Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Madagascar. For more information visit:
is a global partnership
that unites organizations engaged in research for a food secure future.
CGIAR research is dedicated to reducing rural poverty, increasing food
security, improving human health and nutrition, and ensuring more
sustainable management of natural resources. It is carried out by the 15
centers who are members of the CGIAR Consortium in close collaboration
with hundreds of partner organizations, including national and regional
research institutes, civil society organizations, academia,and the