By Mayank Sharma and Manzoor H. Dar
The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), through the Stress-Tolerant Rice for Africa and South Asia (STRASA) and the National Food Security Mission (NFSM) collaborative projects, conducted practical trainings on quality seed production, seed testing, and safer storage in six eastern states of India where seed sector capacity building is a key component in the last week of September until 20 October 2014.
The hands-on trainings were conducted to teach marginal farmers advanced scientific methods in producing quality seed of rice and its proper storage for their own use as well as for dissemination to other farmers. The topics included seed cleaning before sowing, seed treatment, weed management, rouging, harvesting, threshing, and drying. The activities were designed to encourage the participation of female farmers as their contribution to rice farming in India is immense.
A total of 2000 farmers in 70 districts of six eastern states were covered under IRRI-NFSM project for kharif in 2014. In the present season, IRRI-NFSM project demonstrated stress-tolerant rice varieties (STRVs) in 10,000 hectares of flood- and drought-prone areas of eastern India which covered more than 25,000 farmers, 36% of them are women. The participants were also provided with the literature on STRVs and handbooks on the quality seed production in the local languages. Farmers who attended the STRVs demonstrations acknowledged that the training was the first of its kind offered in these remote areas.
Farmers in India, particularly in stress prone areas where public and private seed networks are not adequate, traditionally depend on their own seed from their rice yields for planting for the next season. Increasing their use of high quality seed will help increase their productivity.
The training activities were closely coordinated with the Department of Agriculture from the respective states. Representatives from Indian Council of Agricultural Research, state agricultural universities, Krishi Vigyan Kendra (local agricultural extension centers), and other institutions also participated.
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