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Press Release

June 8, 2018

JICA, IRRI train agri specialists from Africa on quality rice seed breeding to boost food security

PhotoAn agricultural specialist from Africa receives hands-on training from IRRI (photo from IRRI)

Agriculture specialists from French-speaking parts of Africa are in the Philippines for three-week training on improving the quality of the rice seed value chain.

The training is part of the ongoing cooperation between the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) called Extension Capacity Development for Rice Food Security in Africa. This cooperation is part of the initiatives of the Coalition for African Rice Development (CARD) to help address increasing rice demand in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Development aid agencies like JICA are working with rice research institutions and partner countries to help double rice production in Africa by 2018, a move seen to support addressing food security challenges.

"The Philippines is a suitable venue for this kind of training since it also has benefited from JICA's development assistance in rice research and development for many decades now. Through this project, we'd like to contribute to other countries' efforts to address food security and support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) so more people are alleviated from poverty and have access to basic needs like food," said JICA Senior Representative Yo Ebisawa.

JICA, over the years, has supported institutions like IRRI and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) through upgrading of facilities and capacity building.

Seventeen young professionals from Africa's seed sector attended lectures and hands-on activities on crop management, post-harvest processing, modern techniques in the seed value chain development, and other innovative rice seed production systems.

The participants came from agriculture institutions in Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, and Togo in West Africa.

As part of the training, the participants also visited rice farming systems in Nueva Ecija and Ifugao.

Said participants are the 4th batch to receive the Quality Breeder and Foundation Seed training, with a total of 65 agriculture specialists trained from Africa. Aside from this, the project also offered a specialized course on Rice Seed Production and Extension Methods, an 8-week training in PhilRice.

Data from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) showed that sub-Saharan Africa has the highest prevalence of undernourishment in the world at 23.2% or one in every four people making agriculture productivity an urgent concern.

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