On Friday, October 22nd, APU welcomed JICA Expert Mr. Tsuboi Tatsushi to deliver a Social Outreach Seminar entitled “A Message from Mr. NERICA: The Frontlines of African Aid.”
Mr. Tsuboi has been active on the front lines of foreign aid in Africa and other regions for many years as a Rice Cultivation Expert. Africa continues to face food shortages, and improving the efficiency of rice production there can reduce reliance on imported rice and create income for farmers. This will lift people out of poverty, give children a chance to go to school, and bring about many other positive ripple effects. At the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) in 2008, held in Yokohama, former Japanese Prime Minister Fukuda announced a plan to double the amount of rice produced in Africa within the next ten years as part of Japan’s foreign aid. Because of his untiring efforts to help achieve this, local people have given Mr. Tsuboi the nickname “Mr. NERICA” (NERICA stands for “New Rice for Africa”).
During his lecture, Mr. Tsuboi used many visuals to introduce examples of activities being done to spread efficient rice production methods in Africa. He began by talking about the physical properties of the NERICA rice that was created specially for Africa, and then went on to explain the cultivation process and impact of introducing portable rice shelling machines. His talk was accompanied by pictures of local scenery, smiling children enjoying the sweet taste of the rice, and even Mr. Tsuboi playing a large game of jump rope with kids. The students who attended the lecture were captivated by the many pictures and clearly enjoyed Mr. Tsuboi’s friendly personality, which helped bring his message home to the audience. One of his final remarks seemed to make a lasting impression on the students, many of whom were nodding in agreement.
“Even if my work doesn’t immediately produce results, if I can do something that people will be thankful for 30 or 50 years from now, I will be happy. That would be a great accomplishment.”