It is necessary to accelerate efforts to train farmers and equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge to produce quality seeds
The value of training farmers to modernize and improve yields cannot be gainsaid. The recently concluded quality seed production training by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) Tanzania office, in collaboration with several partners, is a step in the right direction towards transforming Tanzania into a more powerful rice-producing nation. At https://kilimokwanza.org/, we commend the good efforts.
The three-day training program covered various topics, including seed quality, legislation, production planning, crop management, harvesting, drying, and storage. Farmers were also trained on good water management practices, soil analysis, and eliminating impurities from seed lots to ensure high quality and germination rates. The training, which targeted stakeholders in the seed value chain, including women and youth, farmer groups, individual farmers, and government institutions, provided practical sessions and visits to seed production farms to give participants hands-on experience.
It is encouraging to note that the training specifically focused on Quality Declared Seed (QDS), which will equip stakeholders with the necessary skills and knowledge to become proficient in quality seed production. Participants expressed their satisfaction with the content and delivery of the training and noted that it would contribute to improving food security and livelihoods in the region.
The low awareness of improved high-yielding and climate-resilient rice varieties and the poor availability and accessibility of affordable quality-assured seeds have been the key challenges facing Tanzania’s seed systems. To address these challenges, IRRI has been promoting improved rice varieties since 2018 in different district councils, and this year, they have funded four Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) stations to establish a total of 120 sites of demonstration plots of nationally released varieties in different district councils.
The training is a significant step towards improving the quality and quantity of seeds produced in the country by various seed producers, from the public, private, and cooperative sectors. It is imperative to continue promoting sustainable farming practices, increasing crop yields, and contributing to the country’s economic growth.
It is, therefore, necessary to accelerate efforts to train farmers and equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge to produce quality seeds. The private sector should also step in and complement government efforts by investing in seed production and certification to ensure that fa