Cotonou, Benin
AfricaRice takes the lead in global research alliance to urgently address Africa’s rice challenges

22 March 2011

AfricaRice takes the lead in global research alliance
to urgently address Africa’s rice challenges

Concerned by the rising world food prices and their grave implications for Africa, the Board of Trustees of the Africa Rice Center  (AfricaRice) endorsed the Center’s lead role for the continent in the recently launched Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP) that aims to contribute significantly to lowering rice prices and reducing global poverty by more than 10 percent.

GRiSP, which is the first new Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Research Program to be approved, will address the need to grow more rice in the coming years to feed the world's population with less land, less water, and less labor in more eco-efficient production systems that are more resilient to climate change.

“As one of the main architects of GRiSP, AfricaRice is committed to supporting its goal to develop Africa’s potential to grow more rice,” stated the Board at its just-concluded meeting at the Center’s regional station in St. Louis, Senegal.

The challenge is huge in Africa, which depends heavily on rice imports and remains vulnerable to food crises. Since 2007, AfricaRice has been consistently advising its member States to adopt key policy measures to support the rice sector. The implementation of these measures contributed to significant increases in domestic rice production in several African countries in 2008 and 2009.

The Board commended the AfricaRice Director General Dr. Papa Abdoulaye Seck and the staff for achieving a turnaround in the Center’s growth and for high levels of performance since 2007, including:

  • A redirection of the Center’s vision and strategy based on scientific excellence and greater ownership by its member countries

  • Tripling of the volume of rice R&D projects with national partners

  • Increased adoption of AfricaRice technologies (NERICA varieties growing in more than 700,000 ha across Africa and AfricaRice’s Sahel varieties sown in nearly 80% of the Senegal River Valley)

  • Doubling of the Center’s budget and funding reserves

  • Ten-fold increase in annual contribution from member countries

  • Reinvigorated research structure aligned with GRiSP themes

  • Effective decentralization of research activities

  • Important new partnership with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), advanced research institutes and regional economic communities

  • Increased international recognition, including two United Nations awards

  • “Outstanding” rating in the 2010 World Bank Performance Measurement system

  • Transformation from a regional to a pan-African organization with new member countries from Central, East and North Africa

The Board expressed keen interest in the new research thrusts of AfricaRice, including the development of a new generation of climate-resilient rice technologies and innovative approaches, such as the market-oriented value chain approach being adopted by the Center. AfricaRice is developing a new Strategic Plan which will be examined by the Board in the coming months.

“We are excited to see a healthy and scientifically-vibrant Center,” the Board Chair stated during his interaction with the staff and their research and development partners.

Before concluding the meeting, the Board approved the working budget for 2011 and took key decisions on Board membership. It was pleased to elect Dr. Peter Matlon as the new Board Chair and expressed its gratitude to the outgoing Chair Mr. Getachew Engida for his valuable contributions to the Center.

It bade a fond farewell to Dr. Kiyoaki Maruyama and thanked him for his dedicated service. Dr. Masa Iwanaga, a world renowned Japanese expert and former Director General of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), was selected as a new member.

AfricaRice is an intergovernmental research association of 24 African member countries. It is also a member of the Consortium of 15 international Centers supported by CGIAR.





Media contact:
Savitri Mohapatra
+225 20 22 01 10

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About 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. 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 headquarters is based in Côte d’Ivoire. Staff are located in Côte d’Ivoire and also in AfricaRice Research Stations in Benin, Liberia, Madagascar, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Tanzania.  For more information visit:

CGIAR 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 private sector.


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;



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