COTE D’IVOIRE – Africa Rice Center and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) have agreed to expand their partnership to enhance research and develop capacity for rice production in Africa.

A stronger partnership means to harness synergies in addressing the growing needs in the rice sector and in the long run impact positively on rice-based food systems.

The two will focus on a comprehensive research program whose key areas of focus include fore sighting, capacity development, nutrition and health, policy research, develop climate-resilient rice varieties, ensure high production and better value chains.

According to Matthew Morell, Director General of IRRI, the two organisations are committed to harnessing collective capacity to address the rice self-sufficiency needs of Africa and achieve it in an economically and socially sustainable manner.

The two agreed to enhance joint opportunities and harness the synergies between the two Centers and their partners in support of their shared vision.

Among many efforts, the partnership will establish stronger mechanisms that jointly identify new opportunities, create programmatic alignment and eliminate duplication of efforts.

“Such a shift in our approach to the African rice sector will help achieve greater and more rapid impact across the value chain and facilitate stronger support and recognition of our joint efforts by our stakeholders,” said Harold Roy-Macauley, Director General of AfricaRice.

Efforts by the AfricaRice have been seen in Nigeria where it developed two high-yielding flood-tolerant rice varieties, which may save 10% in yield losses resulting from flooding.

In addition to submergence tolerance, the flood-tolerant varieties have higher yield potential and suitable growth duration and height.

According to a report by AfricaRice in collaboration with IRRI and Wageningen University, Africa’s rice farmers lose $200 million annually to parasitic weeds, and their cooperation stands to address such challenges.

AfricaRice is a CGIAR Research Center mandated to support its member countries in developing the rice sector through research, development and partnership activities.