AfricaRice exhibited climate-resilient and healthy diets innovations during SARA 2023
Interview with the DG of AfricaRice
The Salon International de l'Agriculture et des Ressources Animales (SARA) was held from 29 September to 8 October 2023 in Abidjan. The theme for this sixth edition was "African agriculture facing the challenges of internal and external shocks: What structural innovations to improve the agricultural sectors and guarantee the food sovereignty of our countries?"
The Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice), International Water Management Institute (IWIMI), TAAT
Clearing house and some women rice processing and marketing groups from Bouaké (SCOOPS-FG, SOUTRA, SION SERVICES) participated in SARA 2023. The participation of AfricaRice was supported through the following projects and initiatives: Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) project financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB), CGIAR Initiatives on GeneBank, Plant Health and Food Safety and Transforming Agri-Food Systems in West and Central Africa, and the HealthyDiets4Africa project financed by the European Union.
With TAAT team
Healthy diet innovations on display included low glycemic parboiled ORYLUX 6 milled rice, parboiled and non-parboiled unpolished black rice (CB1) known for its high antioxidant properties, rice crackers fortified with natural products (hibiscus petals, baobab, soybeans, ginger, moringa, tamarind) and instant rice flour produced from pop rice.
Climate resilient innovations included: Varieties – drought, cold, submergence, stagnation flood, salinity, and anaerobic germination tolerant rice varieties that are also tolerant to biotic stresses; Good agronomic practices - rice intensification, alternate wetting and drying, mid-season drainage, smart-valleys approach for inland development, RiceAdvice/Weed Manager, solar-powered irrigation system, no-till and rice straw mulching; Post-harvest practices – improved rice parboiling fueled by rice husk, solar-powered hermetic storage systems, processing of fine broken rice into flour for porridges and bakery products and use of rice husk fan-assisted stoves for household cooking and the cottage processing industry.
More than 5,000 people visited the stand and were exposed to the products, videos, posters, and bulletin while 600 of them registered for follow-up and collection of more information regarding the products. The women groups sold 726 kg of low glycemic parboiled ORYLUX 6 milled rice and Black rice (CB1) at an average price of 800 FCFA/kg.
Following SARA 2023, AfricaRice and women groups witnessed an uptick in the demand for climate resilient and healthy diets innovations especially rice varieties, husked fueled Mini-GEM parboiling system, ORYLUX 6 parboiled milled rice and black rice (CB1). AfricaRice has already contracted National Agricultural Research and Extension partners in seven African countries (Benin, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Madagascar, Senegal, and Uganda) to produce 122 tons of foundation and 11,200 tons of certified seeds of preferred varieties as well as to install seven Mini-GEM parboilers and ASI-threshers. Thirty-five (35) Mini-GEM parboiling systems with a daily capacity of 400 kg/day are being installed in five African countries (Benin (6) Côte d’Ivoire (22); Ethiopia (6); Madagascar (3); and Mali (3). The encouraging adoption of this technology holds tremendous promise in not only reducing drudgery on particularly women during the parboiling process but also, its positive impact on the nutritional quality of the output as well as the reduction in the use of wood thereby reducing deforestation and its attendant effects on climate change.