To enhance productivity: AfricaRice hands over breeder rice seeds varieties to gov’t.

Officials, participants with the breeder rice seeds

The Africa Rice Centre, AfricaRice, has handed over 200 kilogrammes of breeder rice seeds varieties to the government, through the Institute of Agricultural Research for Development, IRAD, to help boost productivity.

This was Wednesday June 6, at the close of a workshop to train stakeholders of the rice seeds chain, drawn from around the country.

The four-day training workshop on rice seeds production and quality control in Cameroon took place at the headquarters of IRAD in Nkolbison, Yaounde. It was within the framework of the Rice Compact of Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation, TAAT, project.

Closing the workshop, the Director General of IRAD, Noe Woin, said during the training, participants imbibed “new concepts in rice seed production and marketing standards, identification and elimination of off-types in seed fields to improve varietal purity, calculation of seed rates and doses of fertilisers and pesticides required for production, and variety maintenance and post-harvest treatment concepts.

“The ultimate goal of this training is to increase the amount of rice we produce in Cameroon, thereby reducing our imports and dependence on other economies to feed our people,” he said. 

He added that: “This is a duty that the Nation has given us, and one that is enshrined in Cameroon's National Development Strategy for the period 2020 to 2030”.

“…increasing our national rice production requires both the application of proven technical itineraries and the quality of the basic seeds we use to produce them. These seeds must be of superior quality in terms of their resistance to disease and pests, better tolerance to the hazards imposed by climate change, better adaptation to the conditions in our various production basins, and above all superior production compared to local varieties and those currently being popularised in Cameroon,” Dr Noe Woin noted. 

After receiving the 200 kilogrammes of breeder rice seeds from the Africa Rice Centre, the IRAD Director General, on behalf of the government of Cameroon, took the opportunity to “solemnly thank the African Development Bank, the African Rice Centre, all the national and international research communities, and all those who contributed to the development of these varieties…”.

“I would like to assure them all that they will be put to good use to meet the challenges of rice seed production in Cameroon,” he added. 

AfricaRice officials handing over breeder seeds to IRAD DG, Deputy DG



Talking to the press, Dr Sali Atanga Ndindeng, TAAT Rice Compact Leader and Programme Leader of Rice Sector Development at AfricaRice, said seeds are an important input in the rice production process “because with good seeds, you can have an increase in the quality and quantity of rice”.

“These new varieties have proven to be of high performance in terms of yields and resistance or tolerance to both abiotic and biotic stresses. The varieties have also proven to be acceptable by consumers. We cannot produce something that consumers do not want, so we have been able to clearly identify these varieties that have shown high performance in different zones across Africa, as well as highly preferred by consumers in these countries,” he said.

He noted that “we hope that this will go a long way to boost rice production in Cameroon, because the country has the different agro ecologies that are found in the continent and we believe that they will have a high success rate in Cameroon”. 

“IRAD will now have the possibility to multiply these new varieties of breeder seeds that we have brought in, as well as train seed cooperatives to multiply and produce breeder seeds, in collaboration of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development,” he added.


Specificities of the varieties

Describing the varieties of breeder rice seeds handed to government, Dr Sali Atanga said: “We have here CY-2, which is an aromatic variety with long grain. It is highly appreciated by consumers. It is high yielding, with about six tons per hectare. There is ORYLUX 6, which is also long grain, aromatic and for irrigated ecologies and yields about five tons per hectare when good agricultural practices are followed”.

“There is IR 841, also an aromatic and long grain variety, and very suitable for parboiling. We have NERICA 4, an upland rice variety. Among all the upland varieties, this one has shown high performance in terms of upland ecology, no special irrigation systems are needed for it as it depends on rainfall to grow. It also has high performance, not aromatic, but long grain. There is also NERICA 8, which is already in Cameroon, but we brought this variety to renew the stock in Cameroon,” Dr Salli disclosed. 

IRAD Director General, Dr Noe Woin, speaking at closing of workshop



Workshop participants edified to produce quality seeds

Meanwhile, Dr Saidu Bah, Seed Unit Coordinator at AfricaRice, who was one of the workshop facilitators, talking to the press, said during the workshop they went through different modules which exposed participants to produce good quality seeds. 

“We started with the principles of seed multiplication, where we discussed what is involved as far as what quality seeds are concerned and we went on to discuss different modules on nursery preparations, transplanting and especially assuring quality in terms of identifying off types, stages to identify the off types of the rice cloves and harvest,” he said.

He also said there were sessions on “fertilizer application at the right time and the right type of fertilizer, and also for those who are in irrigated ecology how to manage water, and those in the low land ecology how to harvest water”.




This story was first published in The Guardian Post issue No3134 of Friday June 07, 2024

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