Twenty-one agriculture extension workers from Africa and Asia completed on Friday a three-week training course on new practices and technologies to boost quality rice seed production and boost food security in the region given by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in partnership with the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
The training program Extension Capacity Development for Rice Food Security in Asia was given to participants from the African countries of The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Zambia, and the Asian countries of Cambodia, India and Nepal.
Their course included visits to farmer villages in Banaue, Ifugao and in the Philippine Rice Research Institute Central Experimental Station in Nueva Ecija.
”The training provided us with updated practices on seed quality breeding. Hopefully, we plan to bring our new knowledge and skills to our respective countries and offices to enhance agriculture productivity. Our field visits and meetings with local seed producers also gave us new information on how we can improve the seed value chain of our farmers and communities,” shared Kadijatu Alice, an agriculture officer from Sierra Leone.
Robert Bimba, executive director of a community agriculture project in Liberia, said he would share his new knowledge in formulating a blueprint for the development of a national food strategy, including training farmers and business sectors and improving seed quality in his country.
Meanwhile, said the “collaboration of Jica, IRRI, and PhilRice fills a very important knowledge gap.”
”The training program supplies the hands-on experience, skills, and information needed by extension workers and researchers to help build the capacity of low-income countries, particularly in Africa, to produce quality seed for small-scale farmers,” Matthew Morell, director general of IRRI, said.
“We hope that every participant will apply these new techniques in their countries to make their rice production more sustainable and contribute to national and global food security. This is a great example of South-South collaboration making a positive difference,” Morell added.
Yuko Tanaka, JICA senior representative, said “the capacity building program with IRRI and PhilRice is an opportunity for various stakeholders in rice research to share their knowledge and expertise on rice concerns so we can address food security issues and promote inclusive growth that benefits the world’s poorest rural areas.”
The course was the first of a three-part capacity-building program developed by JICA and IRRI. The next two parts would be offered over the next two years, an IRRI official said.