Program 4: Rice Sector Development (RSD) Program
Sub-Saharan Africa faces major challenges related to the development of sustainable and profitable rice value chains. It is critical to address key constraints and challenges to the competitiveness of African rice and explore opportunities for upgrading African rice value chains and tailoring them to consumers in end-markets.
The RSD program actively promotes the uptake of AfricaRice research technologies and innovations, products, tools and approaches and their improvement through capacity building, information exchange and experience sharing, links with development initiatives, and feedback to the research programs of AfricaRice.
It helps package knowledge from research into formats that can be diffused on a wide-scale, e.g. through video or radio scripts, mobile phone technology etc. and are disseminated through development partners, such as non-governmental organizations, extension systems, and from private-sector companies. The program plays an active role in the Rice Sector Development Hubs, where technologies and innovations are tested and put into use in partnerships with development projects and the private sector.
As the conventional technology transfer approach does not address the complex issues of agricultural development, the RSD program has adopted the multi-stakeholder innovation platform (IP) approach, where diverse social and economic operators in the rice value chain actively engage to learn and share information, knowledge and experience, take collective action, and dialogue on good governance processes of the rice value chain.
Using the IP approach, technologies and products can be scaled out comparatively easily by bringing together technological and institutional factors and facilitating self-organization of the rice value chain stakeholders in terms of soft skills, technical expertise, products, services and entrepreneurship. IPs have been established in selected rice sector development hubs.
The RSD program includes a ‘Rice Seed Service Unit’ which handles the production of Breeder and where required Foundation seed, variety maintenance, and facilitation of partnerships with the seed enterprises and millers among other actors in the seed sector.