African farmers may soon be adopting PH knowledge, expertise in rice production

10.10.2017

Farmers from Africa may soon be adopting Philippines’ knowledge and expertise in rice production to support food security, boost rural development and alleviate poverty in that region.

This developed as 30 agricultural specialists from Africa graduated recently from training programs on quality rice seed production and extension under the three-year development cooperation (2016-2019) of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice).

Farmers harvest rice crops on a hot day in a farm in Argao, Southern Cebu. (Photo by Juan Carlo de Vela / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a statement, JICA senior representative Yuko Tanaka said they want to help create opportunities for partner countries like the Philippines to also share with other countries the knowledge and expertise they learned from Japan.

“Under this model of cooperation, together we can contribute to poverty alleviation and food security,” Tanaka said.

Both IRRI and PhilRice were beneficiaries of JICA’s development assistance.

The eight-week course at PhilRice has enhanced the participants’ knowledge and skills in rice production with emphasis on the production of quality rice seeds through hands-on activities and laboratory and field exercises. They were likewise exposed to the different extension methods that can be applied in the promotion and use of quality rice seeds among farmers.

Participants in this course were a​griculture extension workers from Africa, Afghanistan and the Philippines.

The activity complements the ongoing rice value chain initiatives of different members of the Coalition for African Rice Development (CARD). IRRI, PhilRice and other global partners are actively supporting CARD’s agenda of helping double rice production in Africa by 2018.

PhilRice, a government corporate entity that promotes high-yielding and cost-reducing technologies in rice production, has received a Japanese grant aid in the 1980s to upgrade its facilities and research laboratories with Japanese scientists.

JICA noted in its statement that Sub-Saharan Africa has suffered from increasing rice demand since the 1990s.

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


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