The Parasite project is a multidisciplinary research project of Wageningen University, Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice) and the National Agricultural Research Institutes of Benin, Côte d'Ivoire and Tanzania. The objective of the project is to support rice farmers and agricultural organisations in these countries in exploring solutions to deal with parasitic weeds in smallholder rice farming.

Rice is an increasing important component for Africas future food security. Rainfed rice in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is often severely affected by parasitic weeds. Affected areas accommodate some of the worlds poorest farmers and are reported to increase. Parasitic weeds are characterized by their invasive nature due to their ability to adapt to changing conditions (e.g. climate change).

The program consists of 3 PhD-projects and a postdoctoral research project. It expects to deliver control and prevention strategies against parasitic weeds, and institutional innovations for organizations involved in crop protection to reduce the socio-economic impacts of any future pest outbreak. As parasitic weeds are typical production constraints of subsistence rice production systems, targeting them through an integrated program is likely to contribute to poverty alleviation and food security.