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Release of new AfricaRice publication commemorating 50 years of rice innovation and impact

Updated: May 31, 2022

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In commemoration of its 50th anniversary, the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice) is delighted to announce the publication of an impact study, “50 Years of Rice Research for Development,” which encapsulates the key long-term and large-scale impacts delivered by the rice research for development (R4D) activities carried out by the Center and its partners in Africa, over the last five decades.

In my capacity as the incoming Chair of the AfricaRice Council of Ministers, I was greatly honored to release this seminal publication at the 32nd Ordinary Session of the AfricaRice Council of Ministers held on 31 March 2022. Its release marked the official launch of AfricaRice’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, which has been delayed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

AfricaRice is a CGIAR Research Center as well as an intergovernmental association of 28 African member countries, with the Council of Ministers as its highest governing body. It is mandated by its member countries to assist their governments to collaborate in rice research and development and overcome challenges faced by the rice sector in Africa.

Established under the name ‘West Africa Rice Development Association (WARDA)’ by 11 African countries, it officially began operating in 1971. Recognizing the growing relevance of the Association across Africa and the adhesion of more African countries as members, its Council of Ministers decided, in 2009, to change the Association’s name to ‘Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice).’

As we take this opportunity to reflect on the illustrious history of AfricaRice, it is impressive to note from this impact document that the cumulative gross annual benefits from AfricaRice research over the past 30 years are estimated to be US$ 37 billion, representing a gain of US$ 3.49 for every US$ 1 invested! It also reveals that 15 million people – representing 17% men, 34% women and 49% children – were lifted out of poverty through AfricaRice R4D activities in 2021.

During the last five decades, AfricaRice and its partners – national agricultural research systems in Africa and international research institutes – have made substantial contributions to achieving development goals and improving the livelihoods of the poor.

As this publication reports, large gains have been realized through the development and dissemination of tangible technological, institutional and policy innovations. Meanwhile, numerous economic and social impacts have been documented through publications in reputable scientific journals.

The study also indicates how AfricaRice has positioned itself within the global research arena, playing a central role in promoting international collaborative research, developing rice technologies and innovations as well as mobilizing global knowledge and expertise, to tackle the complex challenge of reducing rural poverty and improving food security in Africa.

Our sincere appreciation goes to the staff and management of AfricaRice together with the various partners, who have contributed throughout the last five decades to the achievements highlighted in this publication. We express our profound gratitude to the visionary founders of AfricaRice, its Council of Ministers, its Board of Trustees, its donors, and also its numerous well-wishers, without whom these achievements would not have been possible.

It is our strong conviction that AfricaRice will continue to play a central role in the delivery of scientific research on and development of the rice sector, in collaboration with national agricultural research systems in Africa, guided by the new 2030 Rice Research and Innovation Strategy for Africa, which was endorsed at the 32nd Ordinary Session of the AfricaRice Council of Ministers.

The effective implementation of this new Rice Strategy, which is aligned with the One CGIAR 2030 Research and Innovation Strategy, within the context of a global R4D alliance, will result in productive, nutrition-balanced, and profitable outcomes of rice-based agri-food systems, and will contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as reflected in the strategies of our countries where we are working hard to increase rice production and achieve rice self-sufficiency.

I wish to reiterate my best wishes to AfricaRice on its 50th anniversary and continued success for the next 50 years.

H.E. Mr Harifidy Ramilison

Minister of Agriculture and Livestock of Madagascar

Chairperson of the AfricaRice Council of Ministers

English - AfricaRice launches new publication
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