The Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University (BSMRSTU), Seed Certification Agency (SCA), an institute under the Bangladesh Ministry of Agriculture, and International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) conducted a hands-on training on rice seed production, processing, storage and certification at the SCA Institute in Gazipur last December 21 and 22, 2022. The goal was to train 70 women ToT (Trainer of Trainees) farmers from different women-led farmers groups. Mr. Aminul Islam, Director of SCA, was the chief guest and Dr. Md. Hasanul Kabir Kamali, Chief Seed Technologist of SCA, was the chairperson.
Dr. Muhammad Ashraful Habib, Dr. Saidul Islam and Ms. Subhasmita Mohapatra of the IRRI Seed System Team facilitated the training program. Dr. Ahmed Shafi, Additional Director, SCA; Dr. Sayed Tanvir Ahmed and Md. Enayet E Rabbi, Deputy Directors, SCA; Dr. Rebeka Parvin and Dr. Amina Begum, Additional Deputy Directors, SCA; and Dr. Mostafa Emran Hossain, District Seed Certification Officer, also served as resource persons. The program was moderated by Associate Professor Dr. Md. Zilhas Ahmed Zewel from BSMRSTU.
The training sessions were designed around women farmers’ conceptual and practical experiences and guided by their understanding of the different aspects of rice seed production and marketing. Participants were trained on seed processing, storage, packaging, and certification based on the field inspection manual. The program also focused on different aspects of seed quality, business laws, seed licensing and registration. A practical session on tests for seed germination, purity, moisture content and viability along with exposure to a seed conditioning system and lab equipment was also organized.
Apart from above said example of strong partnership with leading NARES, in 2022, the IRRI Bangladesh Seed System Team, in collaboration with several partner organizations, successfully conducted several on-farm trials and demonstrations (varietal positioning) for the identification and promotion of promising varieties of seed and engaged a significant number of women farmers. All these efforts have been supported strongly through the CGIAR Seed Equal Initiative and IRRI’s OneRice Breeding Strategy and vision around delivering genetic gains to end-users more effectively. These efforts also effectively promoted seed production of improved varieties through women farmer groups, which can be considered a significant achievement towards the expansion of improved varieties through a robust informal or semi-formal social network of women-led institutions.
BSMRSTU, SCA and IRRI have been jointly implementing IRRI Seed System Activity in different regions of Bangladesh. The Seed System Team collects robust data to verify the suitability of modern and promising high-yielding varieties of rice through field trials in different parts of the country. The team also gathers feedback from the farmers on the new varieties. The data helps compare the popular rice varieties with the candidate or potential varieties in the trial locations and consequently helps select region-specific suitable varieties. This is followed by an effort towards a swift expansion of the selected varieties at the farmers’ level.
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