Search site

Enriching seed systems: IRRI-Africa collaborates with partners to enhance rice seed production in Tanzania

Moshi, Kilimanjaro, 28th February - 02 March 2023 - The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) Tanzania office successfully concluded a three-day quality seed production training to accelerate genetic gain and create awareness and demand for good quality seeds of improved, climate-resilient, and high-yielding rice varieties.

The training combined theoretical and practical sessions and was organized in partnership with the Kilimanjaro Agricultural Training Center (KATC), Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI), Tanzania Official Seed Certification Institute (TOSCI), Agricultural Seed Agency (ASA), and Kilimo Trust (KT). Ms. Nice Wilfred Ntupwa from the Ministry of Agriculture, George Iranga from IRRI Tanzania, and the acting principal of (KATC) Peter Aloyce Kabelo officiated the opening of the training.

A total of 30 farmers from 22 regions and 30 district councils benefited from the training program which covered seed quality, seed legislation, seed production planning, preparation of seeds for planting, crop establishment and management, proper harvesting, seed drying, and storage and packaging. Participants also had the opportunity to visit seed production farms and gain practical experience in quality seed production. The training also emphasized the importance of good water management practices, soil analysis before applying fertilizers, maintaining cleanliness on the farm, and eliminating impurities from seed lots to ensure high quality and high germination rate.

The training specifically focused on Quality Declared Seed (QDS) to equip stakeholders in the seed value chain, including women and youth, farmer groups, individual farmers, and government institutions 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.

Mr. Iranga highlighted the low awareness of improved high-yielding and climate-resilient rice varieties and the poor availability and accessibility of affordable quality-assured seeds, which have been the key challenges in seed systems.

"To overcome these challenges, IRRI and its partners have been promoting improved rice varieties since 2018 in different district councils where rice is an important crop. This year, IRRI has 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,” Mr. Iranga said.

He added that the training aims to to promote entrepreneurship opportunities for existing informal seed producers and emerging women and young farmers' collectives in Tanzania.

Speaking on IRRI’s long-standing research and capacity development partnership with the Government of Tanzania, IRRI-Africa Regional Director Dr. Abdelbagi M. Ismail, Regional Director, emphasized the value of sustaining these partnerships to ensure that the smallholder farmers have access to the best quality seeds and that the highest seed production, certification and quality assurance standards are met.

“The seed value chain plays a vital role in Tanzania's agricultural sector, which is the backbone of the economy. IRRI-Africa remains committed to supporting the development of the agricultural sector in Tanzania and is grateful to its partners for their support in  facilitating  this training. This initiative is just one of many activities aiming at improving the quality and quantity of seeds produced in the country by various seed producers, from the public, private and cooperative sectors. We continue to join efforts to promote sustainable farming practices, increase crop yields, and contribute to the country's economic growth,” Dr. Ismail said.

Participating farmers have received TOSCI certificates that will enable them to form groups for QDS seed production and marketing, provided they meet the other necessary TOSCI requirements.

Published on 21-March-2023