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‘Borlaug Field Award winner Elliott Dossou-Yovo, an AfricaRice scientist, is a role model’

AfricaRice Director General Dr Harold Roy-Macauley congratulates the laureate for his outstanding achievement

Complimenting Dr Elliott Dossou-Yovo on being honored by the World Food Foundation as the 2021 recipient of the Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application on 20 October, AfricaRice Director General Dr Harold Roy-Macauley said, “You have become a role model and an inspiration to all our young scientists who wish to improve the lives of rice farmers and other value chain actors in Africa, through research and innovation.”

“On behalf of the AfricaRice family, we offer you our warmest congratulations on winning this prestigious award in recognition of your outstanding work,” Dr Roy-Macauley said. “This success is well deserved thanks to your hard work and dedication to scientific excellence.” He explained that this recognition reflects Dr Norman Borlaug’s vision – which led to the creation of CGIAR – that a culture of research excellence is vital for the development and use of science for the benefit of rural poor populations globally.

Dr Roy-Macauley commended Dr Dossou-Yovo’s initiative and passion for research related to climate change, which poses a huge threat to Africa. “He is not only an excellent scientist but is also very efficient in communication and capacity strengthening activities and project management.”

Dr Dossou-Yovo, Associate Principal Scientist and Agriculture and Climate Change Specialist at AfricaRice, was awarded the Borlaug Award for leading the development, validation, and scaling of environment-friendly, socially equitable, and economically viable technologies to enhance the resilience of rice farmers to climate change in West Africa.

Dr Dossou-Yovo’s work focuses on water management in small-scale rice production systems in West Africa, where 90% of the production occurs under rainfed conditions. He uses a participatory approach that closely involves farmers to co-design, adapt, validate, and promote climate-smart technologies including the following:

  • Smart-valleys approach for water harvesting and yield improvement in rainfed lowlands of Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, and Togo

  • The alternate wetting and drying (AWD) irrigation method for water-saving without a yield penalty in irrigated lowlands of Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire

  • Mid-season drainage for reducing greenhouse gas emission and increasing rice yield in irrigated and rainfed lowlands of Côte d’Ivoire

  • Integrated rice-fish system to increase the social, environmental and economic sustainability of rice production in irrigated lowlands of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.

Expressing his deep gratitude to the World Food Prize Foundation, the Borlaug Field Award Jury, the CGIAR System Organization and AfricaRice, for their strong support and recognition, Dr Dossou-Yovo said in his acceptance speech, “My special thanks also go to the farmers in West Africa, from whom we researchers continue to learn. This award is therefore a tribute to them as they toil day and night to feed us.”

Dr Roy-Macauley reiterated his immense pride in this achievement, especially as the recognition has come during the 50th anniversary of AfricaRice’s founding. “As part of One CGIAR, we will continue to create an environment where talented young researchers from Africa and other continents can flourish and contribute to poverty alleviation and food security, through research on the improvement of food, land and water systems, in a climate crisis.”


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