inaugurates the Rice Biodiversity Center for Africa
d’Ivoire, 27 February 2020 - The Rice
Biodiversity Center for Africa (RBCA) was officially
inaugurated by the Minister of Higher Education and
Scientific Research in Côte d’Ivoire, Dr Abdallah
Toikeusse Mabri, in the presence of the Minister for
the Promotion of Rice, Mr Gaoussou Touré, on 21
February 2020, at the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice)
Research Station in M’bé near Bouaké, Côte d’Ivoire.
Describing the RBCA as a vital tool for African
countries to boost their rice sector, Dr Mabri
thanked the donors – the African Development Bank,
the CGIAR Genebank Platform, the Global Crop
Diversity Trust and AfricaRice member countries –
for their strong support to AfricaRice in the
establishment of the center in Côte d’Ivoire.
During his address, Mr Touré announced his
ministry’s firm resolve to collaborate closely with
AfricaRice in its efforts to make Côte d’Ivoire
self-sufficient in rice. “The RBCA is going to be a
big help in this endeavor,” he stated.
Representatives from AfricaRice Board and
international and national partners attended the
ceremony. The occasion was also graced by the
presence of local government representatives and
traditional chiefs from villages around the
AfricaRice station in M’bé.
A major component of the RBCA is its new
state-of-the-art genebank, which holds the largest
collection of African rice in the world and the
largest rice collection in Africa, with almost
22,000 accessions under long-term storage in trust
for humanity and in accordance with the
International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for
Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA).
The genebank of the RBCA is one of the 11
international genebanks of the CGIAR System
Organization. The genebank manages the rice genetic
resources, including modern rice cultivars,
traditional varieties and related wild species in
Africa, entrusted to it by African countries.
These genetic resources are used to develop improved
rice varieties adapted to African agro-ecologies.
They contribute significantly to feeding the growing
African population in the face of fast-changing
environmental conditions and emerging challenges,
especially climate change.
“AfricaRice has been, for more than four decades, at
the forefront of international efforts to collect
and conserve rice genetic resources in Africa,”
stated AfricaRice Director General, Dr Harold Roy-Macauley.
“In the face of climate change, which requires the
creation of climate-smart rice varieties, it is more
than ever important to efficiently and effectively
manage the diversity of rice accessions in the
genebank of the RBCA.”
The Head of the RBCA, Dr Marie-Noelle Ndjiondjop,
added that the RBCA will not only safeguard rice
diversity ex-situ but will also promote in-situ
conservation. It will serve as a center for
education to raise awareness on the need for
safeguarding rice diversity, the role of rice in
food security and the importance of farmers as
saviors of traditional rice varieties and rice
customs and traditions in Africa. Its doors will,
therefore, be open to visitors including research
scientists, farmers, youths and all categories of
“The RBCA is a valuable research, educational and
cultural asset for the entire world and for Africa
in particular. It constitutes a pillar in the
realization of the global objectives of food and
nutrition security and poverty reduction,” concluded
Related links :
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.
The Center was created in 1971 by 11 African countries. Today its
membership comprises 28 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, Ethiopia, Gabon, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya,
Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of
Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo and Uganda.
AfricaRice headquarters is based in Côte d’Ivoire. AfricaRice has about
230 staff members, including 40 internationally-recruited staff members,
who are located in Côte d’Ivoire and also in AfricaRice research
stations in Madagascar, Nigeria and Senegal and in project sites in
Liberia and Uganda. For more information
CGIAR is a global research partnership for a
food-secure future. CGIAR science is dedicated to reducing poverty,
enhancing food and nutrition security, and improving natural resources
and ecosystem services. Its research is carried out by 15 CGIAR Centers
in close collaboration with hundreds of partners, including national and
regional research institutes, civil society organizations, academia,
development organizations and the private sector.