The Dry Cereal Research Center
There are nine national centers of specialization across West Africa. Each is assigned a priority crop. The Dry Cereals Regional Center of Excellence is hosted by Centre for the Improvement of the Adaptation to Drought (CERAAS) in Senegal, one of the research centers under the Senegalese Agricultural Research Institute.
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The primary mandate of the Dry Cereals Center is to lead research for the West and Central region on suitable drylands-cereal technologies and varieties.
Since its creation, the specialized center on dry cereals has devised over 20 technologies, five and two new varieties of beans and sorghum respectively. As part of its research on climate-smart varieties, the center developed groundnut and cowpea variety options that are today helping farmers adapt to effects of climate change. Eight permanent researchers work for CERAAS while 70 others support the implementation of the research plan.
The center has also sponsored postgraduate students to further research dry cereals.
Overall, the center’s work is expected to contribute in the lasting production of major staples such as maize, millet, sorghum, wheat, and rice.
These centers were established under the West Africa Productivity Program (WAAPP), a flagship of ECOWAS and implemented by CORAF.
Each center had between 5-10 years from its creation to mutate to a regional center of excellence based on a set of pre-defined conditions. Some of these criteria include having an agriculture research framework, infrastructure, and logistics to conduct quality research, a work program that addresses national and regional demands, qualified expertise to do research, contribution to strengthening national research systems, a governance system, etc.
Regional centers of excellence are designed to conduct commissioned research on issues of regional interest. They can participate in calls for competitive funds and can mobilize from across the region required talents and skills to implement their research agenda,”
Dr. Lamien Niéyidouba,
Regional WAAPP Program Coordinator