AfricaRice honored with the Republic of Korea Presidential Award of Achievement 2021
Conferring the Republic of Korea’s Presidential Award of Achievement 2021 to AfricaRice, His Excellency Sang Ryul Lee, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Côte d'Ivoire, said, “This Award is proudly presented to AfricaRice for its successful partnership with the Rural Development Administration (RDA) of the Republic of Korea under the Korea-Africa Food and Agriculture Cooperation Initiative (KAFACI).”
“I wish that AfricaRice will be a focal institution to secure rice self-sufficiency in Africa. Thanks so much for your great contribution,” the Ambassador added. AfricaRice Director General, Dr Harold Roy-Macauley, received the Award on behalf of the Center, during the recent visit of a high-level delegation from the Republic of Korea to AfricaRice headquarters.
The delegation was led by Dr Taek-Ryoun Kwon, Director General of the Technology Cooperation Bureau, RDA, who was accompanied by Dr Jeongran Lee, Deputy Secretary General, KAFACI, Dr Suk-Won Kang, Africa team leader, Korea Program on International Agriculture (KOPIA), and Ms Eva Kang, International Cooperation Coordinator, KAFACI.
KAFACI is an intergovernmental and multilateral cooperation body aiming to improve food production, achieve sustainable agriculture and enhance extension services of African countries through knowledge and information sharing on agricultural technologies.
Congratulating AfricaRice for receiving the Award, in recognition of its scientific excellence, Dr Kwon stated, “I believe that science is key for better agriculture tomorrow. I have a dream for AfricaRice that it will be a strategic partner of the Rural Development Administration of Korea and that this partnership will create a rice surplus in Africa.”
“We are extremely honored to receive this prestigious award and proud of the recognition that our joint efforts with KAFACI have earned to bolster sustainable rice production in Africa through the Rice Development Partnership Project,” said Dr Roy-Macauley. “This is an exemplary model of technical development cooperation for improving food and nutrition security and rural livelihoods in Africa.
He commended Dr Baboucarr Manneh, AfricaRice Regional Representative in Senegal and Irrigated Rice Breeder and his team; Dr. Kang Kyung-Ho, the first coordinator of the Partnership Project and Dr Sang-Bok Lee, the current coordinator; and the national breeders for their significant contribution to the success of this Project.
AfricaRice has forged a strong partnership with RDA, through KAFACI, to accelerate the development of a new generation of productive and stress-tolerant rice varieties to meet the pressing needs of rice farmers and consumers in Africa. This partnership has been successfully implemented with about 20 KAFACI member countries, most of which are also AfricaRice member countries.
AfricaRice rice breeders, with the support of Korean rice breeders, have crossed valuable rice germplasm from Korea – notably the Korean Tongil lines – with elite AfricaRice rice germplasm, to develop new African Tongil-type lines. Rice breeders from KAFACI member countries, with the support of AfricaRice and Korean rice breeders, are using these African Tongil-type lines to develop high-yielding varieties with good grain quality for the irrigated and rainfed lowlands of Africa.
These efforts have resulted in the official release of five early-maturing high-yielding rice varieties with improved milling and cooking characteristics, in Senegal, Malawi, and Mali. The partnership has also significantly enhanced African rice breeding capacity, particularly in the application of anther-culture, which is an efficient path for inbred line development.
To support this work, a modern high-throughput anther culture laboratory for producing double haploid (DH) plants, named the Africa-Korea Rice Breeding Lab (AKRiL), was established at the AfricaRice Sahel Regional Center in St. Louis, Senegal, during the first phase of this partnership.
The Korean Rural Development Administration (RDA) has continued funding the second phase of the Partnership Project (2020–2022) to consolidate the adaptation of the Korean Tongil varieties to African rice systems. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, continuous cooperation and support of AfricaRice has resulted in putting on track the second phase.
To maintain this momentum and further advance the cooperation, the high-level delegation discussed the phase three of the Partnership Project, which is planned to be more ambitious in scale and scope, would target the entire rice value chain, address policy and climate change issues and include additional countries. The delegation was apprised about the transition process to One CGIAR.
AfricaRice is a CGIAR Research Center – part of a global research partnership for a food-secure future dedicated to reducing poverty, enhancing food and nutrition security, and improving natural resources in a climate crisis. AfricaRice is also an intergovernmental association of African member countries.