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The Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice) is a pan-African Center of Excellence for rice research, development and capacity building. It contributes to reducing poverty, achieving food and nutrition security and improving livelihoods of farmers and other rice value-chain actors in Africa by increasing the productivity and profitability of rice-based agri-food systems, while ensuring the sustainability of natural resources.
AfricaRice is one of 15 international agricultural research centers of CGIAR, a global research partnership for a food-secure future. It is also an intergovernmental association of African member countries.
It was established under the name “West Africa Rice Development Association (WARDA)” by 11 African countries and officially began operating in 1971. Recognizing the strategic importance of rice in Africa and the effective geographic expansion of the organization, its Council of Ministers took a historic decision in 2009 to change the organization’s name to “Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice)”.
Today AfricaRice’s membership comprises 28 African countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo and Uganda.
AfricaRice’s strength lies in its locally-tailored rice research-for-development capacity with on-the-ground knowledge and networks. The Center has led ground-breaking work on many fronts that is transforming the lives of millions of rural households in Africa. It has contributed significantly to boosting Africa’s rice sector through improved seeds, cropping practices, processing technologies, policy advice and capacity development.
The modus operandi of the Center is partnership at all levels. Its research and development activities are conducted in collaboration with various stakeholders—primarily the national agricultural research systems (NARS), academic institutions, advanced research institutions, farmers’ organizations, non-governmental organizations and donors—for the benefit of millions of African farmers and other actors of the rice value chain for whom rice means food and livelihoods.
Headquartered in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, AfricaRice has a staff complement of about 230 members, out of which 40 are internationally recruited staff, based in Côte d’Ivoire and in research stations in Madagascar, Nigeria and Senegal and in project sites in Liberia and Uganda.
AfricaRice receives funding from governments, foundations, international financial institutions, development banks, the private sector, as well as from the CGIAR Trust Fund.