Friday, August 7, 2009

JICA and ARI enhance rice seed production capacity of national African technicians and extension agents


Jointly organized by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the African Rice Initiative (ARI) of the Africa Rice Center, the Seed training workshop was held at the Songhai Center in Porto Novo, Benin, 3-7 August.


More than 20 technicians, including four women, from five countries (The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone) participated in this training course, which had the following objectives:

  • •     Enhance the capacity of rice technicians from the national agricultural research and extension systems of sub-Saharan Africa to produce good quality seeds
  • •     Enhance their capacity in varietal maintenance


•     Offer opportunities to them to exchange their experiences and information.


The course consisted of presentations, group discussions and field exercises. It covered the following areas:

•         Principles of seed multiplication
•         Key steps to quality seed production
•         Rice morphology characters and growth stages
•         Post-harvest operations
•         Participatory varietal selection (PVS) and Community-based seed system (CBSS)
•         Common insect pests and diseases of rice

The participants raised major issues relating to rice production in their countries, such as the shortage and the high cost of production inputs; poor funding of research and development; lack of infrastructures, equipments and qualify human resources; weeds, birds and rodents.


At the end of the workshop, participants prepared and presented Action Plans for their respective countries. These plans were discussed and suggestions for improvement made.