Mr Germain Dasylva, FAO representative in Côte d’Ivoire, visited AfricaRice main research station at M’bé, near Bouaké, Côte d’Ivoire on 20 April 2017 to get a more comprehensive understanding of AfricaRice's research-for-development activities and discuss areas for further collaboration. He was accompanied by Ms Antoinette Ziehi, FAO consultant.
The FAO delegation was warmly welcomed by Dr Olupomi Ajayi, designated by AfricaRice Deputy Director General Dr Eienne Duveiller to coordinate the arrangements for the visit.
Dr Ajayi gave an overview of AfricaRice activities and achievements, which was followed by presentations from AfricaRice experts on scalable rice technologies developed by AfricaRice, such as RiceAdvice decision support tool, ASI ricethresher, GEM parboiling technology and rice briquettes. A short presentation on the impact of AfricaRice technologies and innovations was also made.
The program included a visit to field demonstrations at the M’bé station and research facilities that are being rehabilitated as part of AfricaRice’s relocation process to Côte d’Ivoire. The visitors also had a tour of the state-of-the-art rice genebank that is being set up at M’bé.
Mr Dasylva greatly appreciated the scalable technologies, recognizing their importance for Africa. He advocated wider dissemination though promotional efforts at high-level meetings and agricultural exhibitions. FAO plays a key role in fostering partnerships for tackling issues of food insecurity, poverty reduction and sustainable agriculture.
Mr Dasylva was particularly interested to learn about the various types of technical support that AfricaRice provides to its member countries, particularly relating to varietal release and availability of seed. “This is because FAO would like to support small-scale lowland rice farmers to enable Côte d’Ivoire to exploit its huge potential of lowland,” explained Dr Ajayi.
FAO is an important development partner of AfricaRice. The two organizations have signed a MoU for scientific and technical cooperation in consolidating sustainable rice systems development in Africa during the 29th session of the FAO Regional Conference for Africa, in April 2016, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.