The USAID-funded Seed Scaling project implemented by AfricaRice in Liberia is addressing the important issue of good quality rice seed production in Liberia to increase rice production and achieve rice self-sufficiency in the country.
Four training sessions of out-growers related to seed production, processing, certification and marketing were organized in the four major rice seed production Counties, namely Nimba, Bong, Grand Bassa and Lofa during September to November 2016.
The AfricaRice Rice Seed System Specialist, Dr Simon-Pierre Nguetta, gave an overview of the various themes relating to seed production, processing, certification and marketing during the training programs, while technicians from USAID and extension agronomists from the Ministry of Agriculture organized farmers in groups for field trips, practical exercises. The field trip provided a good opportunity for farmers to understand better the problems observed in the field during seed production and how these problems can be solved to produce good quality seed.
The training program focused on the following topics related to the production of good quality seed:
- Importance of good quality seed;
- Different categories of seed;
- Why farmers should use good quality seed;
- Land preparation and water management;
- Time of planting;
- Planting and crop establishment;
- Soil fertility management;
- Weeds, disease, pest management and period of harvesting;
- Threshing, drying, cleaning, packaging and storage;
- Administrative procedures (registration of plot and proof of origin of seed);
- Technical standards requirements (field inspection, post-harvest inspection, laboratory seed testing and grant of certificate and tagging);
- Rice seed standards and protocols (specific isolation distance requirement, condition for field crop inspection, required minimum field inspection and minimum standards for laboratory seed testing of major crops in Liberia);
- Marketing of quality seed (marketing channels, basic principles in seed trade, harmonized seed rules and regulations in ECOWAS States).
A total of 212 participants including 201 farmers (147 male and 54 female) and 11 technicians and extension agronomists (9 male and 2 female) attended the training program in the four Counties. According to the organizers and the participants, this was an important workshop to share knowledge about seed production, processing, marketing and especially the certification process. Higher quantities of good quality rice seed in Liberia are expected as a result of this AfricaRice project activity.