Thursday, October 30, 2008

Africa Rice Center hosts First Technical Meeting of CARD

Twenty participants from AGRA, JICA, JIRCAS, World Bank, WFP, AfDB, IFAD, FARA, FAO, IRRI and Africa Rice Center met for a 2-day technical workshop of the Coalition for African Rice Development (CARD), 25-26 September, in Cotonou, Benin.

CARD was launched in May this year as a consultative grouping of participating bilateral and multilateral development partners and African and international institutions to double rice production in Africa by around 2017. CARD has strong links to the existing structures, programs and networks such as Africa Rice Center, FARA and the African Rice Initiative (ARI).

The objective of the First CARD Technical Meeting was to prepare the groundwork for the First CARD General Meeting, which will be held, 29-30 October, in Nairobi, Kenya.

During the Technical Meeting, preliminary cross cutting issues identified for CARD were seed production, breeding for (a)biotic stresses, mechanization, varietal release procedures, water resource management, cross-border trade and value chain development (economic development). A major thrust of CARD is capacity building.

CARD will start with a 3-year phase. Actions to be taken by the CARD Secretariat are (1) to develop National Rice Development Strategies in 12 SSA countries (21 candidate countries have been identified), (2) identify country specific and cross-cutting actions, (3) focus on advocacy, and (4) information exchange. The final decisions will be taken at the first CARD General Meeting.