Rice production in sub-Saharan Africa was being outstripped by rapid population growth by the mid-1990s. The resulting rice imports were taxing foreign reserves by nearly US$1 billion annually. Worse still, most rice producers were facing the unenviable choice between a high-yield species poorly adapted to African conditions (the Asian rice) and a well-adapted but low-yield species (the African rice). Enter NERICA, or New Rice for Africa – a hybrid between the Asian and African rice – a high-yielding, drought resistant and protein-rich variety that has contributed to food security and improved nutrition in several countries on the continent, including Congo Brazzaville, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Togo and Uganda. Today, 12 years after the debut of NERICA, some 18 varieties of the hybrid species have been made available to rice farmers across sub-Saharan Africa. For the first time, many farmers were able to produce enough rice to feed their families and turn a profit at the market. Diversification into other products has become a reality for many, and long-sought-after conveniences such as indoor plumbing, beds and mobile telephones have been made possible thanks to the proceeds of NERICA.