AfricaRice Science Week 2023: Harnessing Partnerships to Transform Rice Sector in Africa
December 4 - 8, 2023, Mbé (Côte d’Ivoire) – More than 150 participants consisting mainly of government authorities from Côte d'Ivoire, representatives of development partners, AfricaRice Board of Trustees members and scientists, as well as National Agricultural Research Institutes (NARIs) representatives from more than 10 countries, gathered at the AfricaRice research station in Mbé to attend AfricaRice Science Week 2023. The aim of Science Week 2023 was to review progress registered in implementing various rice sector development projects whilst exploring new partnership models with NARIs and other development partners towards a full rice value chain transformation in Africa.
AfricaRice Science Week is an annual event organized by the Center to review activities carried out during the year and to put those of the coming year into perspective. The theme for this year was: “Integrating the AfricaRice Research Task Forces into the One CGIAR Research Agenda in Africa”; and its main objective was to consolidate the partnership between AfricaRice and NARIs and other development partners to deliver science and innovation based on the 2030 Rice Research and Innovation Strategy for Africa and the CGIAR’s 2030 Research and Innovation strategy.
In his welcome remarks during the official launch of Science Week 2023, AfricaRice Director General, Dr Baboucarr Manneh welcomed all participants. In the context of climate crisis, rising prices, and the ban on non-basmati rice exports by India, the DG emphasized the importance of strengthening partnerships between AfricaRice, National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS), and development partners to ensure a genuine transformation of the food system in Africa for food and nutritional security.
AfricaRice Science Week 2023 started with the Task Forces meetings. During the first two days, AfricaRice Task Forces – Breeding, Gender, Agronomy, Policy and Postharvest and Value addition – gathered to share their knowledge and develop work plans for 2024. One of the highlights of AfricaRice Science Week 2023 was the launch of the Multiple Harvest Rice for Africa (MHRA) project - a project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with AfricaRice as lead, and aiming to assess the potential of Multiple Harvest Rice (MHR) to increase the productivity and incomes of rice-based production systems in Africa. This edition of AfricaRice Science Week also featured various activities, including a presentation on "Investment in rice self-sufficiency in Sub-Saharan Africa: Major projects" (African Development Bank REWARD Program and others); a panel discussion on "Strengthened CG partnerships in Africa for rice-based system transformation" with presentations by representatives of AfricaRice, IRRI, CIRAD, CNRA, FARA, ASARECA and CORAF; and field and laboratory visits.
“It is a real pleasure to attend AfricaRice Science Week 2023. It proved to be a highly enriching experience in terms of number of participants and knowledge sharing. The event provided us with the opportunity to review our activities in the rice sector and identify areas for improvement”, highlighted Professor Bitrus Dawi from the Institute of Agricultural Research of Nigeria. “With increased support from Member States, Science Week constitutes a key asset that will enable us not only to increase rice production in Africa but also to export rice to other continents”, he added.
AfricaRice Science Week 2023 provided an opportunity to review progress in the implementation of various rice sector development projects, while exploring new partnership models with NARIs, international organizations, and development partners, to achieve a comprehensive transformation of the rice value chain in Africa.