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IRRI-Africa innovations for food security showcased at the 6th Africa Agri Expo

IRRI-Africa scientists presented ready-to-adopt rice-based technologies to inspire partnerships and collaborations focused on addressing food insecurity and climate change in Africa.

NAIROBI, Kenya (6 April 2023) – More than half of the global land suitable for crop production, including rice cultivation, is in Africa, most of which is unused or underutilized. To meet the ever growing demand for rice, the African continent needs high-yielding, climate-resilient varieties, better production practices, effective and scale-suitable machineries, and appropriate and affordable fertilizers, and other agrochemical inputs.

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is one of the key organizations helping the African rice sector develop and adopt solutions to the challenges they face including climate change and the growing demand for rice. Recently, IRRI Africa scientists in Kenya participated in the 6th Africa Agri Expo held at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi, Kenya to showcase ready-to-adopt rice-based technologies and demonstrated how partnerships among  key stakeholders in the rice value chain sector is key for addressing the food insecurity issues in the continent.

The platform brought together professionals and investors from around the world with the aim of exploring market opportunities, showcasing their brands and technologies, making new connections and creating long-term strategic partnerships. The expo provided good opportunities for governments, private businesses and other institutions and stakeholders to establish dynamic relationships and exchange experiences to fast track progress towards a food secure Africa, and to transform lives of millions of people who depend on agriculture for their livelihoods.

IRRI-Africa staff members including Regional Director Dr. Abdelbagi Ismail represented the institution during the Expo

At the IRRI-Africa booth, numerous visitors learned about the recent technologies that IRRI developed and ready to be deployed to farmers to help improve and sustain their productivity, and mitigate the effects of climate change. Technologies demonstrated include recently released varieties, ‘direct seeded rice’ establishment technology, early maturing and salinity tolerant rice varieties.

As a global leader in rice research and innovation, IRRI was invited to share a presentation at the plenary under the theme: Towards Reaching Food, Nutrition and Income Security in Africa - achievements and prospects. The presentation highlighted various opportunities in the rice value chain in Africa including  platforms for public and private partnerships. It also highlighted some of  IRRI Africa’s ongoing partnerships to strengthen the continent’s rice seed systems.

One of the examples of successful partnerships is the case of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations supporting the production of quality seed for IRRI-bred high-yielding varieties in Mozambique. This partnership enabled thousands of farmers to have access to superior seeds leading to overall increase in grain quality of locally produced rice.

The efforts to create scale-up opportunities in rice seed systems are supported by the CGIAR Seed Equal and the CGIAR Market Intelligence initiatives to harness information on rice, market segments, and trait priorities aligned to the needs and preferences of all stakeholders along the rice value chain.

The event, held on 8-9 February 2023, was opened by Kenya Minister of Agriculture Franklin Linturi accompanied by the Indian High Commissioner to Kenya Namgya Khampa, together with other guests.