Friday, February 8, 2019

IRRI and Mozambique strengthen collaboration and join efforts to establish regional center of leadership for rice

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Agriculture Research Institute of Mozambique
(IIAM), and the World Bank funded project Agricultural Productivity Program for Southern Africa (APPSA) explore opportunities to collaborate in the establishment of the Regional Center of Leadership (RCoL) for Rice. 

APPSA is a World Bank project focused on improving agricultural technology generation and dissemination in the Southern Africa region. Currently, the project is implemented in Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia, and other countries in the South African Development Community region will join as the project expands.

Rice is one of the major crops produced in Mozambique. Rice consumption has increased rapidly not only in the country but also in the region. This new development has elevated rice as one of the priority crops. Africa has the highest untapped natural resources for food production. Over 130 million hectares in inland valleys are suitable for rice production, but only about 10 million are being utilized.

“The establishment of RCoL for Rice in Mozambique is envisioned to strengthen rice research and to accelerate development of modern technologies that will increase rice productivity in the region. It will also address the needs for capacity building and will facilitate sharing of information and knowledge among the countries,” said Dr. Olga Lurdes Fafetine, IIAM Director General.

IRRI supports Mozambique in its initiative to boost rice industry. Since 2006, IRRI have conducted activities that include rice breeding, socio-economic studies, crop production and postharvest, capacity building, information management, and private sector village-based programs. In 2011, Makassane, the first variety of IRRI-bred rice developed specifically for the country was released, followed by several other varieties.

To further assist Mozambique and the Africa region in improving rice productivity and self-sufficiency, IRRI opened a new regional office in Nairobi, Kenya in December 2018. “Our work in the region aims to contribute significantly to the development of the rice industry, and food and nutrition security. IRRI looks forward to the opportunity to work closely with IIAM and APPSA in building local capacity, promoting innovations and technological advancement, and sharing them with extension workers and farmers who need them most,” said Dr. Abdelbagi Ismail, IRRI’s Regional Representative for Africa.

IRRI is currently focusing in Mozambique, Kenya, Burundi, and Tanzania, and plans to extend its support to all rice-producing countries in Africa.

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