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AfricaRice Launches Multiple Harvest Rice for Africa Project


AfricaRice officially launched the Multiple Harvest Rice for Africa (MHRA) project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on Wednesday, December 6, 2023, at the Mbe station in Bouake, Cote d’Ivoire. MHRA aims to boost rice production in Africa with key outputs that include an inventory of rice-producing regions suitable for multiple harvest systems, identification of elite lines and varieties with high ratooning ability and meeting farmers' and consumers' preferences, and development of management recommendations for increased yields, grain quality, and reduced production costs. The project overall objective is to rigorously compare the feasibility and profitability of Single Harvest Rice (SHR) against optimized MHRA systems.

The project officially started on 01 October 2023 and will last for four years. With a budget of three million USD, the project focuses on seven African countries that cover a large diversity in agro-ecological zones in sub-Saharan Africa including Côte d'Ivoire, Nigeria and Senegal in West Africa and Kenya, Madagascar, Tanzania, and Uganda in East Africa.

The project is implemented in partnership with the International Rice Research Institute, Alliance Bioversity CIAT, and the National Agricultural Research Institutes of the project countries. It also supports collaboration with Yunnan University in China for the transfer of germplasms suitable to multiple harvest rice systems.

Sub-Saharan Africa faces serious challenges in meeting the rapidly increasing rice consumption. About 55% of rice consumption was met through production in 2021 due to lower yields and cropping intensity. The region requires an additional 30 million tons of rice by 2035 from the 2010 level to meet rising demand. The adoption of Multiple Harvest Rice (MHR) systems can play a critical role in increasing rice production in SSA while avoiding extensive cropland expansion and preserving biodiversity and ecosystem services.

MHR, allowing several harvests from a single planting, has proven successful in some Sub-Saharan African countries. The system was evaluated from 2019 to 2021 in Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal, and 2022 and 2023 in Mali and showed a significant reduction in labor and production costs while increasing labour productivity and profit. However, sustaining rice yields beyond one year was a challenge with the germplasms currently evaluated.

The MHRA project builds on the achievements of previous endeavors made by AfricaRice notably in the framework of the IFAD-funded PRUNSAR project in Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal and World Bank-funded AICCRA project in Mali.  

According to Dr. Elliott Dossou-Yovo, leader of the MHRA project, ‘Multiple harvest rice system can offer a low-cost, low-input use and low-labor requirement pathway for intensification in African rice-producing areas that struggle to adapt to climate change and compete on production costs with rice imported from Asia. Reduced production costs per growing season in the ratoon systems are especially beneficial to African women farmers due to their low income and limited access to finance.  Multiple harvest rice can also enhance soil carbon sequestration and play a key role in climate change mitigation.’

 

For further information, please contact Elliott Dossou-Yovo, E-mail: e.dossou-yovo@cgiar.org / Tel. +225 0586913715

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