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[COTONOU, BENIN] Africa’s private and public sector institutions should collaborate to address rice research and production challenges, a forum has heard.
Rice researchers, scientists, policymakers, processors and seed producers who a attended the 2016 AfricaRice Science Week and Global Rice Science Partnership-Africa Science Forum last month (1-5 February) at the Africa Rice Center in Benin.
The conference was organised by AfricaRice, a member of the CGIAR Consortium, to review activities carried out by rice sector development hub teams carried out in 2015.

“The private sector’s involvement is absolutely essential to develop rice cultivation.”

Marco Wopereis, AfricaRice


The forum also sought to disseminate scalable technologies for rice production and carry out effective and efficient planning of rice research-for-development (R4D) activities in 2016.
The forum was attended by 200 experts from 30 countries, 27 of which are in Africa, including Cote d’Ivoire, Madagascar, Nigeria and Senegal.
Marco Wopereis, AfricaRice deputy director-general, told the forum that African countries will face a strong demand for rice of around 38 million tons by 2040, urging researchers to help farmers increase production capacity “to grow rice in Africa for Africa”. “The private sector’s involvement is absolutely essential to develop rice cultivation,” Wopereis said.
Rice experts said that the combined efforts and strengths of public-private sector partnerships of all actors in the rice value chain could help increase production and stimulate research on rice in Africa.
Noting that rice is a strategic crop for achieving food security and providing export opportunities, AfricaRice director-general Harold Roy-Macauley, called for intensifying advances in scientific research to encourage such partnerships that are crucial for the development of increased rice production in Africa. Sali Ndindeng, a researcher at AfricaRice, told SciDev.Net: “We have the same interests and a partnership between the private and public sector will achieve these interests.”
Lucie Eulalie Racalaharimino, a manager at Relharf Agro Business, a seed production company in Madagascar, added: “The close collaboration between the public and private sectors will allow us to know in advance the most efficient [rice] varieties for our business.”
This piece was produced by SciDev.Net’s Sub-Saharan Africa English desk.