The Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS) is entrusted with a unique mission. As a national research centre, the JIRCAS and its predecessor, the Tropical Agriculture Research Center, has been conducting research and development on technologies that address the needs of developing regions for almost 40 years. Through direct collaboration with government organizations, research institutes and universities, the JIRCAS contributes to addressing global issues of hunger and poverty, global warming, environmental conservation and sustainable management of resources.
One of the core premises of JIRCAS’s work is its role as partner in research projects conducted in collaboration with developing countries. Projects are enacted on an equal-footing basis with collaborating entities — the JIRCAS dispatches its own staff and researchers affiliated with other research institutes directly to the field and provides scientific equipment, while at the same time hosting collaborating researchers for advanced studies at the JIRCAS and other Japanese research organizations. The centre maintains research projects in all areas of the agricultural sciences, including forestry and fisheries, with active projects in 25 countries across Asia, Africa and South America.
2- Strategic areas of focus
JIRCAS has started the Third Mid-term Plan (FY2011-2015) in April, 2011. It consists of four activity programs as follows,
<Program A> Environment and Natural Resource Management
To develop agricultural technologies based on sustainable management of environment and natural resources in developing regions.
<Program B> Stable Food Production
To develop technologies for increased productivity and stable production of agricultural products in the tropics and other unstable environments.
<Program C> Rural Livelihood
To develop technologies for income and livelihood improvement of the rural population in developing regions.
<Program D> Information Analysis
To collect, analyze, and disseminate information for grasping trends of international agriculture, forestry and fisheries.
3- Specific activities supported
JIRCAS is conducting research activities in the form of research projects. Total of 17 projects are under the three research programs. Among these, following projects are being carried out in Ghana and other African countries. Since JIRCAS is a research organization, CSIR is the main collaboration counterpart organization in Ghana. Research results from the achievements of the research projects will be transferred to MoFA and other organizations for technology dissemination.
>Development of rice production technology in Africa (Flagship Project of Program B, with MoFA, CRI, SRI, SARI, UDS, KNUST)
>Development of technologies for sustainable agricultural production in the African savanna (Program A, with SRI, SARI)
> Collection and analysis of information on agricultural research in Africa (Program D, with FARA)
<Other countries in Africa>
>Development of agricultural technologies in developing countries to respond to climate change (Ethiopia; Flagship Project of Program A)
>Development of rice production technology in Africa (Benin, Ethiopia; Flagship Project of Program B)
>Development of technologies for sustainable agricultural production in the African savanna (Niger, Burkina Faso, Mozambique; Program A)
>Development of breeding technologies toward improved production and stable supply of upland crops (Nigeria; Program B)
Other than above mentioned International Collaborative Research, JIRCAS has several schemes to invite researchers in Africa and other developing countries to Agricultural Research Institutes in Japan for conducting collaborative researches as well as for capacity building.
4- Future support areas
Seeds and needs for agricultural research will be reflected in future research plans. Currently most projects which are carried out in Ghana and other African countries are under program A and B, but in future, activities for rural livelihood including forestry, fisheries and food science areas (program C) could also be started.
Since JIRCAS has long experience in various collaborative activities in Asia, JIRCAS can facilitate linkage between Africa and Asia in the form of South-South Cooperation.