Biotech Updates

Africa Holds the Future for Rice Farming, Says WARDA DG

May 9, 2008

Africa’s untapped potential such as its large land distribution and its barely used water resources proves that “Africa holds the future for rice farming” says Dr. Papa A. Seck, Director General of the Africa Rice Center (WARDA) in Cotonou, Benin. In sub-Saharan Africa, only 3.9 of 130 million hectares are being cultivated compared with Asia where the challenge is not about increasing rice areas but rather about maintaining them.

Seck suggests measures that can be considered by African governments, a few of which are:

  • Significantly increase the share of high yielding irrigated rice farming in production.
  • Promote the use of varieties like NERICA (a variety developed by WARDA through a crossing between the African rice and the Asian rice).
  • Increase access to improved seed.
  • Improve cropping practices through an integrated management of the rice season by proposing alternatives ranging from land preparation to harvest.
See WARDA's press release at