IRRI scientists join FP2 team to upgrade rice value chains in Asia and Africa

From left to right: Val Pede (IRRI), Kaori Fujita (JIRCAS), Vipa Surojanametakul (Kasetsart University), Tadashi Yoshihashi (JIRCAS), Rose Fiamohe (AfricaRice), Matty Demont (IRRI), Bas Bouman (IRRI), Frédéric Lançon (CIRAD), Prajongwate Satmalee (Kasetsart University), Guillaume Soullier (CIRAD), Martin Gummert (IRRI), Christian Mestres (CIRAD), Sali Ndindeng (AfricaRice)

Last October 23–27, a meeting on “Rice Flagship Project 2” was held at the CIRAD office in Montpellier, France. The objective of the event is to do a year-end review of the RICE-FP2, and discuss activities and outputs for 2018.

The event brought together a multi-disciplinary team of researchers from IRRI, AfricaRice, CIRAD and JIRCAS committed to a common goal of upgrading rice value chains in Asia and Africa. The FP2 research promotes sustainable rice value chains by engaging with stakeholders such as farmers, processors, traders, service providers, consumers, policy-makers, and other stakeholders in rice and rice by-product markets. The goal of the research is to catalyze a wide portfolio of strategies to upgrade rice product quality, postharvest processes, policy and contractual arrangements, and to develop new products along the rice value chain.

IRRI is represented by Bas Bouman, CRP Director, Matty Demont and Val Pede, respective FP2 and FP1 leaders, and Martin Gummert, FP2 postharvest cluster leader.

During the event, participants reviewed the progress of their FP2 activities in 2017, and highlighted major achievements and lessons learned. They explored linkages between FP2 and FP1, and other CRPs such as CCAFS and PIM. They also presented strategies for gender inclusiveness and capacity development.

The team developed strategies for outreach and private sector engagement, and identified potential donors and funding opportunities to support FP2’s research portfolio. As part of the program, they visited the Soufflet Rice Mill in Camargue, France to learn about French practices in rice value chain development.

Rice Mill at Camargue, France

 At the end of the 5-day program, team members each presented their work plan and expected outputs for 2018. They identified several activities for 2018 such as webinars, virtual meetings, a symposium during the 2018 International Rice Conference, and a joint paper on upgrading rice value chains in Asia and Africa by the end of 2018.

Frederic Lançon of CIRAD remarked, “FP2 incorporates diverse expertise that can be used for effective training and capacity building programs with value chain stakeholders in Asia and Africa, which is essential in rice value chain upgrading”. Bas Bouman said that even though the FP2 team is small, it is dynamic and has achieved an impressive output during its first year. As an emphasis, Val Pede added that “The team has successfully bridged research between FP1, FP2, FP3 and FP5 and beyond. Examples are the market intelligence it produced for product profiling in rice breeding, the incentive mechanisms it developed for sustainable rice production and the ongoing collaboration with CCAFS on climate-smart and sustainable agriculture.”

Matty Demont reflected that “FP2 serves as an ideal platform for inter-disciplinary learning and spillover of research and lessons learned between Asia and Africa. Since FP2 provides market intelligence to other flagship projects, it is able to make the RICE CRP more market-driven and gender-inclusive. The product profiles for rice breeding, for example, take women’s preferences for varietal development into account in an early stage”.  Finally, Yoshihashi Tadashi of JIRCAS expressed appreciation for the team work, and looks forward to 2018 as a year of more success and achievements.

For more information on FP2 and its role in upgrading sustainable rice value chains, you may visit http://ricecrp.org or contact Matty Demont at m.demont@irri.org.

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