AATF partners IRRI to Scale Hybrid Rice Production in Africa

The International Rice and Research Institute, IRRI has signed a four- year partnership agreement with the African Agricultural Technology Foundation AATF. This partnership will help scale rice production in Africa. 

Africa consumes a total of 11.6 million tonnes of milled rice yearly. About 8.3 million of this farm produce is gotten locally while 3.3 million tonnes are imported. The partnership was spurred by the inability of Africa to become self-sufficient in rice production and concurrent demand grew at 6% yearly.

IRRI was founded in 1960 to combat hunger and improve the health of rice farmers and consumers. It also provides advanced rice research and gives lasting solutions to challenges.

IRRI will leverage AATF’s technological expertise and reach 23 Africa countries to deliver innovation to African farmers. It will accelerate the distribution of high-yielding rice varieties, good agro-practices, digital technologies, farm mechanization, crop care, etc. It will create awareness for rice farmers and also promote food security in the African agro-economy.

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Both bodies will meet regularly to develop joint projects for rice production and the seed industry. AATF’s network would expand by joining other Agri-organization like Hybrid Rice Development Consortium (HRDC) and Direct Seeded Rice Consortium (DSRC). On the other hand, IRRI will become a member of the AATF-led Alliance for Hybrid Rice in Africa (AHyRA).

African Agricultural Technology Foundation Rice Project Manager, Kayode Sanni expressed his satisfaction on the partnership with IRRI. He noted that Rice is an important staple food for Africans. Thus, the need to upgrade the continent’s technologies and rice cultivation is key.

IRRI’s Head of Tech Transfer, Remy Bitoun also described the partnership as a good way to accelerate the distribution of better rice varieties and good agronomic practices. It will improve food security and the economic sustainability of rice-based agri-food systems.

Before the partnership with AATF, IRRI had made significant strides in uplifting the productivity and livelihoods of farmers in Asia.