Stream D - Integrated Rice Sector Development in a Changing Climate

This Integrated Rice Sector Development in a Changing Climate stream will cover two sub-themes: Integrated Rice Seed Sector Development and Enhancing Sustainability and Resilience in Local and National Rice Systems, both with a focus on rice sector development in a changing climate.

Climate change is already negatively affecting East African agriculture. One of the most effective ways to adapt on-farm is to switch to improved crop varieties that can adapt to extreme weather and climatic conditions. This solution depends on enabling policies and institutions involved in governing the seed systems on which farmers rely for access to suitable varieties. While the need for seed systems to adapt and become more resilient is indisputable, the question of how this is best achieved is debated. The dominant seed system development pathway promoted by international development actors is characterized by the formalization and commercialization of the seed sector. Yet, recent research on Integrated Seed Sector Development (ISSD) in Africa highlights the importance of facilitating interactions between both formal and informal seed systems to encourage the development of a pluralistic seed sector with roles for both the public and private sectors, as well as for farmers, community seed producers, and NGOs. Thus, a focus on quality seed of ‘farmer-preferred rice varieties’ from whatever source is a critical feature of ISSD.

Furthermore, climate-smart rice-based production technologies, such as direct-seeded rice (DSR), alternate wetting and drying (AWD), system of rice intensification (SRI), rice-based inter-seasonal multi-cropping, and best management methods, can all enhance the sustainability and resilience of rice-based agri-food systems in a time of increasing environmental uncertainty. The adoption of these water-, labor-, and energy-saving technologies and practices show huge potential for increasing yields in rice, boosting profits of farmers through increasing productivity, promoting diversification, reducing the drudgery of labor, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

This stream will examine documented examples and novel approaches in both national and regional programs in Africa and Asia to highlight the latest integrated practices and innovations to make rice-based systems more sustainable, equitable, and climate-resilient to climatic and other shocks.

Attendees will learn:

  • Integrated seed sector development in rice in Africa is addressing issues of availability, accessibility, seed quality, varietal quality and purity, and resilience to effectively contribute to increasing productivity and sustainability of rice seed systems in the East Africa Region.

  • ISSD approaches have been tried and tested in several East African countries and shown considerable promise to support a pluralistic seed sector, providing clear lessons and examples for improving rice-based production systems.

  • ‘Climate-smart rice varieties’ are growing in number, but these must be combined with ‘climate-smart rice-based production technologies and practices’ if farmers are to see real benefits.

  • System-based solutions that reduce risks of crop failures and significantly enhance productivity through good agronomy, appropriate mechanization technologies, integrated soil, water and nutrient management, and postharvest management can be adapted to different farming environments, making them ‘context-smart’.

  • Policy and institutional support, targeted credit and finance, and farmer-centered advisory services will be needed to ensure that these integrated technologies and approaches are accessible and affordable to all, including poor and marginal farming communities, so that they may be applied at scale.

20 May 2021

Virtual | East Africa Time (GMT+3)

11:00 - 12:30

Session D1

Integrated Rice Seed Sector Development: Country Experiences

Chair: Dr. Dawit Alemu, Manager, Bilateral Ethio-Netherlands Effort for Food, Income and Trade (BENEFIT) Partnership and Country Lead for Ethiopia, Agricultural Policy Research in Africa Programme of the Future Agricultures Consortium


  • Dr. Miltone Ayieko, Executive Director, Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development at Egerton University

  • Regional Cooperation in Seed Sector: Seed without Border? - Dr. Umesh Singh, South Asia Advisor for Research & Partnerships, International Rice Research Institute


  • Dr. James Onsando, Seed Systems Consultant

  • Dr. Sidi Sanyang, Program Leader Rice Sector Development, AfricaRice

Q&A and take away messages

Presentation overview

Regional Cooperation in Seed Sector: Seed without Border?

Seed is the most critical input in agriculture. Quality seed of a improved variety is must to ensure its good productivity at farmers’ fields. Depending upon a crop, varietal development takes 6 to 10 years of time. Even after development of a variety it takes 5 to 6 years for evaluation, release and notification and another 3 to 4 years in seed chain before it becomes available to the farmers. More often varieties are released and notified for cultivation for a defined area. However, there are varieties which are being cultivated, unofficially/officially, across countries or even continents.

Keeping above facts in mind International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) initiated work to harmonize seed policies across region. Major aim was to (i) speed up the process of varietal release, awareness creation, seed multiplication and varietal out scaling without sacrificing quality, (ii) more efficient use of resources, (iii) encourage formal seed system, (iv) promote seed/varietal replacement rate (SRR/VRR) and (v) promote seed exchange/business.

In order to address this issue a workshop was organized by IRRI in Dhaka which was attended by senior agriculture officials from India and Bangladesh. After detailed deliberations, a Protocol of Discussion (Dhaka Agreement) was signed by India, Bangladesh and IRRI (as facilitator) on 17 February 2013 identifying important areas for collaboration in the seed sector. These include (i) Joint varietal evaluation and release, (ii) Reciprocal recognition of evaluation data for varietal release, (iii) Reducing time for the evaluation of varieties released in neighbouring countries for similar agro-ecologies, (iv) Reducing time for evaluation for MAS generated varieties, (v) Pre-release seed multiplication & promotion, (vi) Encouraging private sector by providing level playing field and (vii) Harmonization of seed system.

The second workshop on this issue was organized in Kathmandu on 18th October 2014. At this workshop, the second Protocol of Discussion (Kathmandu Agreement) was signed by Secretaries of Agriculture of Bangladesh, India and Nepal and IRRI Director General. Under this landmark agreement the three countries agreed to share the evaluation data and varieties released in their respective countries for release and commercialization in the other two countries.

In the light of success of first two agreements, the IRRI organized third secretary level meeting on June 9 & 10, 2017 in Siem Reap, Cambodia which resulted in signing of third Protocol of discussion (Siem Reap Agreement) by Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and IRRI. Later on Bhutan and Myanmar also joined it. Whereas earlier two agreements are confined to rice, Siem Reap Agreement covered several crops- other cereals, pulses, oilseeds, vegetables (non-hybrid), sugarcane and fibre crops. The signatory countries also agreed to recognize each other’s seed certification systems and standards. This paved the way for the seed sharing across the region.

Just after signing of Kathmandu agreement India acted quickly and directly notified 4 rice varieties from Bangladesh and two from Nepal for cultivation in India. Nepal also directly notified two rice varieties from India. This saved almost 4 to 5 years of time and a lot of resources. Out of these two rice varieties proved to be big success in India and two in Nepal. In 2019 India directly notified one potato variety -Yusi Maap from Bhutan saving almost 8 to 10 years of time. Pre-release promotion, which was part of the Dhaka agreement, also proved to be very useful for rapid dissemination of new varieties as it creates demand among farmers in advance of release of a variety which encourages seed growers to multiply more seed of new varieties. Several clauses of these agreements became part of the new seed policies of signatory countries.

All these agreements are voluntary. Through these agreement varieties released in one country are available to other signatory countries. It is up to importing country to decide which variety to take and whether to notify it directly or after one or two seasons of evaluation. These agreements could be extremely useful for the African countries as all varieties released in signatory countries will become available for them saving a lot of time and resources. Also it will give them freedom to get breeder/foundation seed and multiply one to two generations in their own country before taking them to farmers. This agreement may also paved the way for strengthening of seed system and even capacity enhancement in seed sector.

About the presenter

Dr. Uma Shankar Singh (Umesh Singh) was born in a farming family in a small village in India. He graduated from Delhi University; Master and PhD in Plant Pathology from G.B. Pant University of Agriculture & Technology (GBPUAT), Pantnagar, India. He began his career at GBPUAT where he served for 24 years in different capacities including 8 years as a Professor.

Presently Dr. Singh is South Asia Advisor for Research and Partnership at International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). In addition to other responsibilities he is responsible for the promotion of intra-regional cooperation including seed without border initiative. Before joining this position, he served International Potato Centre (CIP) for 26 months as South Asia Coordinator for Research & Partnership & Couth Manager- India.

Earlier, Dr. Singh served IRRI for 11 years. He was Principal Scientist & founding Director of IRRI-South Asia Regional Centre in Varanasi. He was South Asia Coordinator of Stress Tolerant Rice Program of IRRI where he mobilized a large network of partners and strong policy and financial support from national system and introduced several innovations in seed system which helped to achieve an unprecedented speed of diffusion of STRVs benefiting millions of poor farmers in South Asia. He is the main architect of three landmark regional seed agreements on varietal and seed sharing among 7 countries from South & South East Asia.

Dr. Singh has authored/co-authored 211 scientific papers, 51 book chapters, 11 books in 19 volumes and 9 technical bulletins. He served/serving as member of several committees including member of Kishan Samridhi Ayog (Farmers’ Prosperity Commission), State Government of Uttar Pradesh and Foreign Secretary of National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, India. He has several awards & honours to his credit.

14:30 - 16:00

Session D2

Enhancing Sustainability and Resilience in Local & National Rice Systems to cope with Climate Change

Chair: Dr. Jon Hellin, Platform Leader, Sustainable Impact through Rice-based Systems, International Rice Research Institute


  • System of Rice Intensification (SRI): Summary of Progress Made in Africa - Prof. Bancy Mati, Professor, Soil, Water and Environmental Engineering Department, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology

  • A challenge for improving fertilizer management to simultaneously cope with nutrient deficiency and climate-induced stresses for lowland rice production in Madagascar - Dr. Yasuhiro Tsujimoto, Project Leader, Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences


  • Mr. Vincent Kipngetich, CEO, National Irrigation Authority, Kenya

  • Dr. Kazuki Saito, Agronomist, AfricaRice

Q&A and take away messages

Presentation overview

System of Rice Intensification (SRI): Summary of Progress Made in Africa

The system of rice intensification (SRI) was developed in Africa, specifically in Madagascar in 1975. The technology remained unknown to the rest of the world for many years till it was documented by scientists and promoted from the 1990s. Since then, SRI has been adopted by millions of farmers worldwide, accepted as a valid set of agronomic practices that incredibly help increase rice yields while also saving water. SRI has other multiple benefits, such as better grain quality, improved health and work environments through reduction of water-borne disease vectors and ergonomic advantages. In essence, SRI is attractive especially to small-scale rice farmers who have adopted the system in place of traditional fully flooded paddy systems. Within Africa, some 25 countries are documented to have adopted SRI, as is evident on the SRI-Africa website Prof. Bancy Mati is the convenor and manager of the SRI-Africa knowledge portal, in which the data, publications and happenings of SRI in Africa are collated and posted on the website on a regular basis. This paper summarizes the progress made by the African countries in pushing forward with SRI as a sustainable way to grow more rice to feed the continent, while also saving water.

About the presenter

Prof. Bancy Mati is a leading expert in land and water management, with a special interest in irrigation to the point that she is credited with introducing the System of rice intensification (SRI) in Kenya. A Professor at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), Prof. Mati holds a PhD degree in Agricultural Engineering, Food Production and Rural Land Use , MSc. in Land and Water Management and BSc. in Agricultural Engineering. She is a registered Consulting Engineer. She has previously worked with ICRISAT, as Programme Manager of Improved Management of Agricultural Water in Eastern & Southern Africa (IMAWESA), and with International Institute (IWMI).

Prof. Mati is a member of the Steering Committee of the UN High-Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) and on the Board of Management of the Upper Tana Nairobi Water Fund (UTNWF). In addition, she is the founder Chairperson of the Association of Irrigation Acceleration Platform (AIAP) and on the Steering Committee of Kenya Water for Industry Association (KWIA). She has previously been on the Advisory Board of the United Nations University’s UNU-FLORES; the National Biosafety Authority, the Engineers Board of Kenya, and the Board of Global Water Partnership (GWP).

Prof. Mati is an active researcher, trainer, development worker, and consultant. She has consulted for WFP, FAO, IFAD, UNDP, World Bank, NEPAD, African Union, AGRA, AfDB, IWMI, ILRI, ICRAF, ASARECA, Sida, and MENR. She has over 160 publications variously in books, book chapters, refereed journal papers, consultancy reports, and conference proceedings.

Presentation overview

A challenge for improving fertilizer management to simultaneously cope with nutrient deficiency and climate-induced stresses for lowland rice production in Madagascar

Improved nutrient management is a key for sustainable food production under the depleting fertilizer resources and increasing environmental impacts with its use and production of mineral fertilizer in the agricultural systems. The importance of improved nutrient management can be emphasized for increasing rice production in East Africa where smallholder farmers grow rice with little fertilizer inputs on relatively nutrient-poor soils. The P-dipping is a simple manipulation to dip rice seedlings into muddy soils added with a small amount of phosphorus (P) fertilizer, whereby the seedling roots are coated with the P-enriched slurry and transplanted in the main field. Repeated experiments demonstrated that both rice yields and nutrient use efficiencies greatly improve with the P-dipping even under severely P-deficient or highly P-fixing soils in Madagascar where rice has little response to conventional P application via broadcast. Our recent trial identified that the effect of P-dipping can be enhanced by combining with a shallow root genotype. Furthermore, our observations revealed that the P-dipping has an advantage against low temperature stress at the end of the rainy season by shortening the growth duration and against flash flooding by accelerating the initial growth of rice. As these stresses are commonly found for rice production in East Africa, the technique can be one potential approach to simultaneously address the issues of improved nutrient management and resilience to climate change. At the same time, our observations imply the importance of further studies to understand the interaction between nutrient deficiency and climate-induced stresses, both are key constraints for sustainable rice production in the region. The P-dipping technique is currently promoted and tested in more than 300 farmers’ fields in Madagascar in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries (MAEP), national research institutes, the JICA technical cooperation project (PAPRIZ), private sectors, and smallholder farmers in Madagascar.

About the presenter

Dr. Yasuhiro Tsujimoto is an eminent young researcher in crop science, with a special interest in cropping systems and nutrient management in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). He received his Ph.D. in Agronomy from Kyoto University and joined Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS) in 2010. Throughout his research career, he has focused on the improvement of crop management practices based on repeated observations and experiments at the production sites with national partners and smallholder farmers in several SSA countries. He has over 50 publications variously in refereed journal papers, book chapters, and conference proceedings. With the esteemed research achievements, he received the young researcher awards from the Japanese Society of Crop Science in 2017 and from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, Japan in 2020. He has been leading a bilateral research project, locally-named ‘FY VARY’ or ‘Good Rice’ in Malagasy, with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries, Madagascar, since 2017 under the “Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development (SATREPS)”. The project aims to enhance rice yields under low input and poor soil fertility conditions occurring in many areas of SSA and to evaluate its impact on household income and human nutrition. He has been also appointed as a leader of the JIRCAS project ‘Africa Rice System’ since 2021, targeting the development of sustainable rice and food production systems in SSA.