Regional Training Center
In 2014/2015, AfricaRice, with support from the Government of Senegal, African Development Bank (AfDB) and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), has established a special platform dedicated to the professionalization of the full range of actors and services along the rice value chain, with a special focus on women and youth. With this facility, AfricaRice ambitions to train a new generation of hands-on rice experts and entrepreneurs, through season-long training in rice management and entrepreneurship.
The Regional Training Center, situated in Saint-Louis, in the Senegal River Valley – one of the major rice growing areas in Senegal – is a world-class training facility in Africa. It has a fully equipped 100-seat conference hall and two training halls with capacity for 25 trainees each as well as accommodation for 40 residential trainees and six trainers and catering and transport services. The facilities are open to be used by other organizations of the agricultural sector at a cost and depending upon availability.
The Training Center offers short technical courses (1 to 3 weeks) for various rice stakeholders including value-chain actors and national researchers, extension and development agents, and can host groups of trainees for season-long on-site training. Training modules that promote entrepreneurship and agribusiness are also offered to help develop and manage profitable and competitive businesses in the rice sector. Between 2014 and 2018, about 1,000 individuals (24% women) were trained there on a diverse range of topics.
As part of its vocational training program specifically targeting youth (young graduates, school dropouts and young professionals) who want to engage in rice business, the Training Center has identified 12 key jobs in rice value chains ranging from basic advisory services to handling agricultural machines and running rice business enterprise. For each of these jobs, a business-oriented curriculum centered around skills is being developed with the participation of national experts for teaching at the Training Center.
Building on the wide and diverse expertise of AfricaRice and its strong relationships with national and international experts, the Training Center has the capacity to respond to the specific training needs of various stakeholders. Customized courses are designed and implemented on demand.
AfricaRice, in most of its locations (Côte d’Ivoire, Madagascar, Nigeria and Senegal), has well-equipped laboratories, experimental farms of several hectares and various phenotyping platforms, which are useful for research and capacity development.
In our laboratories, a diverse range of analytical techniques such as soil and plant tissue analysis, grain quality analysis, disease testing and molecular diagnosis can be used. Phenotyping platforms are available for medium to high-throughput evaluation of agronomic traits and various abiotic stresses including drought, submergence, cold and salinity. The experimental farms allow on-station trials for rainfed and irrigated trials. Their location in the vicinity of farmers’ fields gives the opportunity to trainees to experience farmers’ cultural practices as compared to research.