Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Rising temperatures put Africa’s rice production at risk

A new modeling study published today warns that the dry-season irrigated rice in West Africa’s Sahel region has reached the critical threshold of 37 degrees Celcius – the tipping point. Further temperature rise could devastate rice yields in this region due to decreasing photosynthesis at high temperatures.

This is an ominous sign as yield reductions will directly translate into severe food shortages in a highly vulnerable region. Rice has fast become the preferred food of the Sahelian countries – critical for food security and political stability of the region. Rice consumption has been increasing dramatically, mainly because of changes in eating habits and rapid population growth.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Sahel will experience increasingly higher average temperatures as well as changes in rainfall patterns over the course of the 21st century. These changes threaten food security and the livelihoods of the region’s predominantly rural population.

“Our model shows that without adaptation, irrigated rice yields in West Africa’s Sahel region in the dry season would decrease by about 45%, but with adaptation, they would decrease significantly less – by about 15%,” explained the lead author Dr Pepijn van Oort, Crop Modeler at Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice).

Dr van Oort clarified that it is important to keep in mind that this is a West Africa average, and that there are big differences within West Africa. “Things are better in the cooler coastal regions and a lot worse in the hotter inland sites,” he added.

“Also, more investigation is needed to understand clearly photosynthesis processes at extreme temperatures, as there has been almost no research conducted on rice at such high temperatures,” Dr van Oort cautioned. “In addition, we need to explore further adaptation options, such as shifting sowing dates more into the cold dry season.”

Although rice thrives well in hot and warm climates, high temperatures of more than 35 degrees Celcius can damage plant processes and lead to lower yields. Rice is also vulnerable to cold temperatures, which can slow growth.

The modeling study forecasts that in East Africa, rising temperatures will create new opportunities for rice. In East Africa rice is grown mostly in the highlands, which are now often too cold for the crop, and this will improve with higher temperatures. Also, rice could benefit from increased CO2. However, improved water and nutrient management will be needed to have the maximum benefit.

The study analyzed rice yield changes for four Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP) climate change scenarios comparing the 2000s with the 2070s and identified causes of yield declines.

It revealed that overall yield decline is found in all scenarios if farmers continue using the current rice varieties. But the trend becomes positive, if farmers adopt varieties that can tolerate increased temperatures.

The findings were revealed in the article by Pepijn van Oort and Sander Zwart, entitled “Impacts of climate change on rice production in Africa and causes of simulated yield changes,” published in the top journal Global Change Biology. The paper appears online on 12 December 2017 at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/gcb.13967 

According to Dr van Oort, this is the first comprehensive study that addresses the impact of climate change on rice productivity across Africa. Projections of the likely impacts of climate change on rice yields were evaluated using the ORYZA2000 crop growth simulation model.

“This is an important milestone, because climate change effects on rice in Africa are still poorly understood and rice in Africa has until now received limited attention from the crop modeling community,” said Dr van Oort.

The research work was supported with funding from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS); the CGIAR Research Program on Rice Agri-food Systems (RICE); the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (Germany); and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).
  

La hausse des températures menace la production rizicole en Afrique

Une étude sur la modélisation, publiée aujourd’hui, prévient que le riz irrigué de contre-saison dans la région du Sahel d’Afrique de l’Ouest a atteint le seuil critique de 37 degrés Celsius – un point déterminant. Une augmentation subséquente de la température aboutirait à la chute des rendements rizicoles dans cette région du fait de la baisse de la photosynthèse qui survient avec la hausse des températures.

Il s’agit là d’un signe inquiétant, et la baisse des rendements se traduira par une grande pénurie alimentaire dans une région très vulnérable. Le riz est devenu l’aliment préféré des pays du Sahel – capital pour la sécurité alimentaire et la stabilité politique de la région. La consommation de riz a augmenté de manière considérable principalement du fait des changements des habitudes alimentaires et de la croissance démographique rapide.

Selon le Groupe d’experts intergouvernemental sur l’évolution du climat (GIEC), le Sahel sera confronté à des températures moyennes de plus en plus élevées, de même qu’aux changements de la pluviométrie au cours du 21e siècle. Ces changements menacent la sécurité alimentaire et les moyens de subsistance des populations à majorité rurales de la région.

« Notre modèle montre que sans des mesures d'adaptation adéquates, les rendements du riz irrigué dans la région du Sahel d’Afrique de l’Ouest pendant la contre-saison vont diminuer de près de 45 %, mais avec l’adaptation ils vont diminuer significativement moins – de près de 15 % » a expliqué le premier auteur Dr Pepijn van Oort, spécialiste de la modélisation des cultures au Centre du riz pour l'Afrique (AfricaRice).

Dr van Oort a expliqué qu’il était important de garder à l’esprit qu’il s’agit d’une moyenne propre à l’Afrique de l’Ouest, et qu’il existe d’importantes disparités au sein même de cette région. « La situation est meilleure dans les régions côtières plus fraîches, et bien pires sur les sites plus chauds dans les zones intérieures », a-t-il ajouté.

« En outre, d’autres travaux de recherches sont requis pour comprendre le processus de photosynthèse à des températures extrêmes, car qu’il n’en existe quasiment pas sur le riz à des températures aussi élevées, » affirme Dr van Oort. « De plus, nous devons envisager plus d’options d’adaptation telles que le décalage des dates de semis jusqu’à la saison froide. »

Bien que le riz a une bonne performance dans les climats chauds, des températures supérieures à 35 degrés Celsius peuvent endommager les processus de la plante et aboutir à des rendements plus faibles. Le riz est également vulnérable aux températures fraîches qui peuvent ralentir sa croissance.

L’étude de modélisation prévoit qu’en Afrique de l’Est, la hausse des températures va créer de nouvelles opportunités pour le riz. En Afrique de l’Est, le riz est principalement cultivé sur les hautes terres qui sont actuellement souvent trop fraîches pour la culture, et cela va s’améliorer avec des températures plus élevées. Aussi, le riz pourrait bénéficier de la hausse des émissions de CO2. Cependant, une gestion améliorée de l’eau et des nutriments sera requise pour en tirer un bénéfice maximum.

L’étude a analysé les changements des rendements rizicoles pour quatre profils représentatifs d’évolution de concentration (RCP) liés au changement climatique comparant les années 2000 aux années 2070, et a identifié les causes de la baisse des rendements.

L’étude a révélé que le déclin global des rendements est présent dans tous les scénarios si les producteurs continuent d’utiliser les variétés de riz actuelles. Mais la tendance reste positive, si les producteurs adoptent des variétés qui peuvent tolérer des températures en hausse.

Les résultats ont été présentés dans l’article de Pepijn van Oort et Sander Zwart intitulé « Impacts of climate change on rice production in Africa and causes of simulated yield changes » publié dans le journal réputé Global Change Biology. L’article a paru en ligne le 12 décembre 2017 à http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/gcb.13967 

Selon Dr van Oort, c’est la première étude détaillée qui aborde l’impact du changement climatique sur la productivité du riz sur l’ensemble du continent. L’impact du changement climatique projeté sur les rendements rizicoles a été évalué en utilisant le modèle de simulation des cultures ORYZA2000.

« Il s’agit d’une avancée importante, car les effets du changement climatique sur le riz en Afrique sont encore méconnus, et le riz en Afrique n’a pas encore retenu l’attention de la communauté des spécialistes de la modélisation, » a déclaré Dr van Oort.

Les travaux de recherche ont été appuyés par le financement du Programme de recherche du CGIAR sur le changement climatique, l’agriculture et la sécurité alimentaire (CCAFS), le Programme de recherche du CGIAR sur les systèmes agroalimentaires riz (RICE), le ministère fédéral de la Coopération économique et du Développement (Allemagne), et Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

Friday, December 8, 2017

AfricaRice and CNRA strengthen capacity of women rice processors in Côte d’Ivoire

Women rice processors from Bouaké and Gagnoa, Côte d’Ivoire, undergoing a training course on the use of the GEM rice-parboiling system, 4-8 December 2017, at AfricaRice Research Station in M’bé near Bouaké, showed keen interest in learning about improved parboiling and turning it into a profitable enterprise.

“Everything that we have learned here about parboiling is new for us. We will use this knowledge and the GEM technology to produce high-quality parboiled rice and we hope that one day we can invite our President to relish our parboiled rice,” said Mrs Camara Assetou, head of the women’s cooperative SCOOPS FG, Bouaké.

The training was the direct result of a consultation meeting held by AfricaRice, CNRA and ANADER with rice value-chain actors in Bouaké and Gagnoa in May 2017, during which rice parboiling was identified as an important activity performed by women groups. It was also clear from the consultation meeting that the women processors were using rudimentary methods and equipment, leading to very poor quality parboiled rice

Based on the feedback from the consultation meeting, AfricaRice in partnership with CNRA organized the training course on improved rice parboiling technology to strengthen the capacity of selected women rice processors, who would serve as resource persons and trainers of their peers.

The training was led by Dr Sali Ndindeng, AfricaRice Grain Quality and Postharvest Technology Scientist. The sessions were chaired by CNRA representatives, Prof. Jean Nemlin, Director of Research and Lead of CNRA Post-harvest technologies and Central Laboratories and Dr Ernest Depieu, Systems Agronomist.

The main objectives of the course were the following:
  1. Use of AfricaRice’s GEM (Grain quality enhancer, Energy-efficient and durable Material) rice-parboiling system to improve the quality of rice and fuel-use efficiency,
  2. Use of rice husk as an alternative to wood fuel for rice parboiling, and
  3. Initiation of innovation platforms to link farmers, parboilers and millers in the respective zones 

The training course included both seminars and hands-on opportunities for all trainees. The topics covered among others (1) General introduction to rice grain quality; (2) Role of parboiling in improving rice grain quality; (3) Introduction to GEM; (4) Use of rice husk as fuel; (5) Innovation platforms.

The practical sessions included all the stages of GEM technology from washing, soaking, parboiling, drying and milling rice as well as the use of the rice husk gasifier.


The training was organized within the framework of the CGIAR Research Program on Rice Agri-food Systems (RICE) Flagship Project 2 ‘Upgrading rice value-chain in Africa’ and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) program on “Appui technique aux programmes de mise en œuvre des Grandes orientations de la Politique Agricole de l'Union (PAU) en vue de la relance du secteur rizicole en Afrique de l'Ouest”.




Audiopodcast : 

Dr Sali Ndindeng, AfricaRice Grain Quality and Postharvest Technology Scientist summarizing the training course on "Improved rice parboiling"

Dr Sali Ndindeng, Chercheur d’AfricaRice sur la Qualité des grains et technologies post-récolte donne un rapport synthétique sur le cours de formation sur "L'étuvage amélioré du riz"

Prof. Jean Nemlin, Director of Research and Lead of CNRA Post-harvest technologies and Central Laboratories speaking on the importance of parboiling in Côte d’Ivoire

Dr Ernest Depieu, CNRA Systems Agronomist talking on the potential of improved parboiled rice in Côte d’Ivoire

Mrs Camara Assetou, head of the women’s cooperative SCOOPS FG, Bouaké speaking of the benefits of the training course on "Improved rice parboiling"

Mrs Soro Adjaratou, Women parboiler from Gagnoa, speaking of the benefits of the training course on "Improved rice parboiling"

Monday, December 4, 2017

AfricaRice and FAO conduct a training workshop on new statistical methods for surveys on rice in Hohoe, Volta Region, Ghana


AfricaRice and FAO conduct a training workshop on new statistical methods for surveys on rice in Hohoe, Volta Region, Ghana. As part of this, a training workshop on new statistical methods for surveys on rice for food security was organized, 6-8 November 2017, Hohoe, Volta Region at Hohoe in Ghana.

AfricaRice and FAO with support from the Japanese government are helping national authorities of Ghana to improve rice statistics for food security. As part of this, a training workshop on new statistical methods for surveys on rice for food security was organized at Hohoe in Ghana. 

The training workshop introduced participants to two new survey methods, namely dot sampling method and list frame method with actual measurement to improve the data collection and analysis methods. A pilot survey was organized in the Volta region in Ghana to help the participants master the two new survey methods. 

Participant were also trained in the use of the survey solution application for data collection on tablet. Participants included national officers and enumerators from the Statistics, Research and Information Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (SRID/MOFA), Directorate of Crop Service (DCS/MOFA) and representatives of the Agriculture Department of five Districts (Hohoe, Kajebi, Afadzato, Jazikan and Biakoye). In total, 52 persons (including four women) comprising 22 officers and 30 enumerators participated in the training.