Tag Archives: rice

Calls for proposals: Sustainable Crop Production Research to Improve Food Security

Spotted this announcement yesterday on eurekalert.org that will surely be of interest to readers of this blog. “International research initiative launched to improve food security for developing countries

“Researchers are being invited to submit proposals for the Sustainable Crop Production Research for International Development Initiative. The closing date for applications is 31 March 2011. For more information please see www.bbsrc.ac.uk/scprid

A new $32/M joint research initiative is to fund teams from the UK, India and developing countries to work on projects to “improve the sustainability of vital food crops”.

From the press release:

“The new initiative will place particular emphasis on improving the sustainable production of staple food crops across sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. These include cassava, maize, rice, sorghum and wheat. By placing significant emphasis on these crops the initiative partners expect to be able to improve food security and quality of life for the largest possible number of people. “

Full details of parameters for the outline proposal applications can be read by visiting the BBSRC (bioscience for the future) website. http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/scprid/ Deadline for applications is 31st March 2011.

Brand extension: videos from Africa Rice Center (formerly WARDA)

The journal Development in Practice recently published a paper by Paul Van Mele, Jonas Wanvoeke, and Esperance Zossou, Enhancing rural learning, linkages and institutions: the rice videos in Africa.  A peer review version can be downloaded at:  http://www.warda.org/warda/DIP%20Video%20in%20Africa.pdf

Africa Rice Center (formerly WARDA) has built a strong brand over the years, and has established a reputation for delivering high quality products to farmers across Africa.  These videos extend the brand identity by delivering high quality and accessible training to further support farmers.  Capitalising on the trust already gained, the “value” of the brand can reach beyond research alone and ensure more effective technology transfer.

By way of an introduction to this work, the preamble observes that:

Africa Rice Center (WARDA) facilitated the development and translation of 11 rice videos. From 2005 to 2009, WARDA partners translated them into more than 30 African languages. Open-air video presentations enhanced learning, experimentation, confidence, trust, and group cohesion among rural people. The videos strengthened capacities of more than 500 organisations and hundreds of thousands of farmers. WARDA’s integrated rural learning approach also helped women to access new markets and credit. Learning videos allow for unsupervised learning; unleash local creativity and experimentation; facilitate institutional innovations; and improve social inclusion of the poor, youth, and women.

The authors also observe that:

Across the board, the potential role of radio and video in strengthening agricultural innovation systems has not been fully explored. In this article, we present on-going work by Africa Rice Center (WARDA) and partners. Attention is paid to the ways in which video complements rural radio in enhancing learning, linkages, and institutions: the three pillars of an innovation system (see also http://www.warda.org/warda/p3-rurallearning.asp). We conclude by addressing some issues of social exclusion arising with the use of media, and we present potential ways to overcome these.

The paper is a must-read for those seeking to use media to effectively support agricultural development, and it is appropriate that Paul Van Mele, AfricaRice’s Learning and Innovation Systems Specialist, was honored with the 2009 CGIAR Outstanding Communications Award.  Paul’s work was also recognized this year by the International Visual Communication Association, which highly commended the video Cashing in with Parboiled Rice in the category of the Industry Award for Effective Communication.

More information on the video library can be found at: http://www.warda.org/warda/guide-video.asp

Post written by Peter Bloch, consultant to CAS-IP

Rice varieties. Nericas® & case for using intellectual property management for stewardship


This recent article in the WIPO magazine  talks about Nerica®, – a subject CAS-IP has been following closely with the Africa Rice Centre (WARDA).  

“Helping agricultural research centers manage their intellectual assets as public goods is the raison d’être of the Central Advisory Service on IP (CAS-IP), a unit of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) to which WARDA belongs. WARDA and CAS-IP are holding ongoing workshops to determine how IP mechanisms could best support the impact of this agricultural success story. Nerica was registered as a trademark with the USPTO in 2004, and as the expanding range of Nerica products are adopted by ever more smallholder farmers, CAS-IP notes that it will be increasingly important to protect the quality associations that have been so carefully established by WARDA, and to ensure that any Nerica seeds acquired by a farmer are the real thing.”

I have quoted this paragraph in its entirety as it was so well put! 

There has been some criticism around the use of “formal” intellectual property mechanisms such as trademarks in the field development as it has been viewed as “restrictive”, and counters the spirit of a “public good”. 

From our perspective this couldn’t be further from the truth!  We see a crystal clear case for IP mechanisms of this kind facilitating effective stewardship of research outputs.  A research breakthrough is the first step — after that, as the output makes it way downstream into the farmers hands and fields, this product MUST perform to expectations or the well intended mission of international research falls short.  Intellectual property management is one tool to help encapsulate the knowledge and experience of the original research into the product as it enters the supply chain.  Stewardship of breeding, storing, complementary inputs and techniques can be built into a brand and a brand can be moulded using formal IP such as trademarks.  To repeat the WIPO article, the aim is:  “to ensure that any Nerica seeds acquired by a farmer are the real thing.”