AfricaRice Science Week 2019 adopts a forward-looking perspective

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Over five days, more than 70 participants, consisting mainly of AfricaRice scientists, as well as key technical partners and value chain actors from Côte d’Ivoire met at the Science Week 2019 to discuss ongoing work, progress, modes of partnership and research support.

The Science Week was held, 11-15 February 2019, at AfricaRice’s main research station in M’bé, near Bouaké, Côte d’Ivoire. The objectives of the Science Week 2019 were the following: (1) Research planning and strategic thinking; (2) Sharing information on external landscape and institutional developments; (3) Setting program priorities, identifying gaps and resource requirements; (4) Increasing institutional efficiency; (5) Developing more effective partnerships; (6) Catalyzing scientific exchanges and support for research and development

A major highlight of this year’s Science Week was a joint reflection on strategic issues, challenges and opportunities for charting the future direction of research at AfricaRice for the next five years against the backdrop of the evolving funding landscape.

Another distinguishing feature of the Science Week was the presence of technical partners and value chain actors from Côte d’Ivoire testifying to a mutual commitment to renewed strengthening of partnership.

Prof. Pétronille Acray-Zengbethe, Director General for Research and Innovation at the Ivorian Ministry of Scientific Research and Higher Education, and Dr Yté Wongbé, Director General of the Ivorian National Center for Agricultural Research (CNRA) pledged strong support to collaborative initiatives.

Other partners included representatives from ADERIZ, PADFA, Universities of F.H. Boigny, Abobo/Adjamé, Bouaké and Yamoussoukro as well as ROPPA farmers’ organization, Bouaké parboilers innovation platform and Bilhof seed enterprise.

Opening remarks were made by Dr Yté Wongbé and Prof. Seraphin Kati-Coulibaly, AfricaRice Board Member, who represented Prof. Sophie Thoyer, Chair of the Board Program Committee. AfricaRice Director General Dr Harold Roy-Macauley gave the opening address.

The range of topics covered by the Science Week included:

  • Prospective thinking for the 2020s (discussions on initiatives to drive change and shape AfricaRice’s future in the 2020s). This included the CGIAR new Business Plan, AfricaRice-IRRI Alliance and a brainstorming session on a new AfricaRice Strategic Plan 2021-2025 under four themes: Technology for Improved Livelihoods; Environmental sustainability; Food systems and Nutrition; Catalyzing Agricultural Transformation)
  • Strategic instruments for impact (discussions on what technologies from research programs as well as technical and institutional support will be provided to rice actors along the value chain)
  • Partnership and business development (discussions on how AfricaRice collaborates with public and private sectors). This included round tables with (1) Technical partners (CNRA, ADERIZ, PADFA, Universities of F.H. Boigny, Abobo/Adjamé, Bouaké and Yamoussoukro) on collaboration with AfricaRice; (2) Value chain actors (ROPPA farmers’ organization, Bouaké parboilers innovation platform and Bilhof seed enterprise) on collaboration with AfricaRice, challenges and opportunities and business models
  • The 2019 Science seminar, which focused on two topics:

o   Predictors of drought in inland valleys landscape and enabling factors for mitigation measures

o   Randomized control trials for impact assessment

New initiatives, such as Big Data in Agriculture and the IBP/IFAD project, were presented to the scientists. The program also included an introduction to drone applications in modern agriculture, a demonstration on drone flying and visits to laboratories and field experiments.

Presentations were made on the financial situation and 2019 preliminary budget, OCS, human resources and risk management. This was followed by discussions on opportunities and strategic partnerships in outreach offices, administrative challenges, budgets and plans.

The Science Week also introduced for the first time a special seminar-training session on “How to prepare bankable projects,” with insights from Dr Roy-Macauley.

Thanking the participants and the organizing committee at the end of the Science Week, AfricaRice Deputy Director General Dr Etienne Duveiller said, “A major highlight of this year’s Science Week was on thinking ahead and planning for the 2020s. We are happy that after active debate, some key themes and priorities have emerged for moving forward.”


  • Scenes from the AfricaRice Science Week 2019, 11-15 Feb 2019 , M’bé Research Station, Bouaké, Côte d’Ivoire

Audio podcast / Podcast audio

Opening remarks by:

  • CNRA Director General Dr Yté Wongbé

  • AfricaRice Board member Prof Séraphin Kati-Coulibaly

Partnership and business development

Round table with technical partners

  • Professeur Pétronille Acray Zengbé, Directrice Générale de la Recherche et de l’Innovation, MESRS, Côte d’Ivoire
  • M. Emmanuel Coulibaly, Chef de Service production semences à l’Agence pour le développement du riz (Aderiz) ex-Ondr
  • M. Auguste Baïmey, Coordinateur du Projet d’appui au développement des filières agricoles (PADFA)/FIDA/MINADER
  • Dr Brahima Koné, Enseignant Chercheur, Université Félix Houphouët-Boigny
  • Dr Siaka KONE, Directeur, INPHB-Ecole Supérieure d’Agronomie (ESA)
  • Dr Eric Kwadjo, Assistant à la Vice-présidence chargée des Relations Extérieures, Université Nangui Abrogoua
  • Dr Alphonse Bouet, Chef Programme Riz,  CNRA

Round table with value chain actors

Presentation on selected new projects

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