Building Capacity of Rice Stakeholders
Developing the capacity of rice stakeholders in Africa is essential in the drive toward rice self-sufficiency and reduced poverty. Capacity development has therefore been at the heart of AfricaRice’s mandate since its creation and it is a pivotal component of the Center’s research for development (R4D) agenda.
AfricaRice supports individual and institutional capacity development to strengthen national research and innovation capacity in Africa, and to empower rice value chain actors, with particular attention to women and youth. To reach these objectives, the Center uses a combination of approaches which include training, participative learning and action research, institutional support, awareness building as well as coaching for business development and management. Its capacity development programs are developed and implemented, taking into account its overall R4D agenda, the capacity and skills needs of the rice sector in Africa and the existing opportunities in these areas.
Aiming at building the next generation of rice researchers, the capacity development programs include both degree and non-degree training programs executed through internships, distance learning, group courses and exchange visits. The Center also contributes to strengthening the capacity of national scientists by actively engaging them in its R4D projects. Its training helps renew human-resources in agriculture in Africa by creating a pool of knowledgeable and skilled rice professionals, at least 30% of whom are women.
Recognizing the importance of efficient value chains to positively transform the rice sector in Africa, AfricaRice focuses also on imparting new knowledge and skills to rice value chain actors, in collaboration with national research and development partners. It conducts vocational training programs at its Regional Training Center in Senegal to equip women and youth with the technical and entrepreneurial skills necessary to successfully establish and manage sustainable rice-based ventures. Hence, different business models are being tested in the rice hubs to boost job creation in the rice sector through the development of service provision and women/youth-own businesses.
Overall, thousands of people in Africa have benefited from AfricaRice’s capacity development programs either directly or indirectly thanks to knowledge flow and learning spillover. The potential impact of our capacity development interventions is on increased use of knowledge generated through research, sustainable improvement of rice productivity and competitiveness, increased incomes, stronger engagement of women and youth in rice business and better livelihoods.