Accra, September 14, GNA `- Ghana will host this year's Pan-African International Year of Rice (IYR) celebration slated for September 26 to October 1. The celebration was a result of the United Nations declaration 2004 as an International Year of Rice for the success achieved in the discovery of "NERICA" (the New Rice for Africa).
A press statement by Mr Julius D. D. Hukporti, Chairman of the National Planning Committee said the celebration would focus on providing opportunities for highlighting issues associated with rice-based systems and develop a global framework to harness the potential of the system. It would also seek to increase public awareness at all levels on the contributions of rice-based systems to food security, better nutrition and alleviation of poverty to improve upon livelihood.
The programme, which is being coordinated by Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) as delegated by the UN General Assembly would engage the entire African community in initiating mutually beneficiary action to address the challenges associated with achieving sustainable increases in rice production. The statement observed that although rice is commonly thought to be Asian crop, it is one of the most important food crop grown in Africa over 3000 years and serving millions of Africans.
It is expected that eminent African leaders, including Ghana's President J.A Kufuor, President Olesengun Obasanjo of Nigeria, representatives from the international community and regional organisations would attend the celebration.