An inclusive weeklong Rice Seed Production training for technical and extension staff under the Ministry of Agriculture is currently ongoing at the Central Agricultural Research Institute-CARI in Suakoko District.
Seeds are basic necessary inputs in crop production. To a very large extent, seeds determine the effectiveness of all other inputs such as fertilizers, agronomic practices, agrochemicals etc.
The training is being facilitated by the Small Holder Agriculture Productivity Enhancement and Commercialization project (SAPEC) with sponsorship from AfricaRice.
In a welcome address, Bong County Agriculture Coordinator Kollie Nahn thanked AfricaRice and SAPEC for organizing the training to enable participants to learn new techniques in properly securing quality seeds to improve the agriculture sector.
Mr. Nahn intimated that they as county agriculture coordinators, technical and extension staff must attach a lot of seriousness to the training in order to perfectly perform at their assigned areas.
The Bong County Agriculture Coordinator said the need for serious attention to be placed on the production of quality seeds cannot be over-emphasized.
Also making remarks, the Director General at CARI Dr. Marcus Jones noted that the venture by AfricaRice and SAPEC is a clear indication that the quest of the Ministry of Agriculture to securing Liberia food sector must be supported.
Dr. Jones lauded AfricaRice for the support they continue to render CARI as a research institute to enable local farmers and agriculture technicians have a clear understanding on how the sector can be improved.
For his part, AfricaRice Country Representative Dr. Inousa Arkintayo told the participants that the training is solely focused on the improvement of the country stable food rice.
The AfricaRice Country Representative said in Liberia, availability of quality seeds remains a problematic issue because of lack of adequate knowledge of producers and extension field staff in the good seed production, processing and handling practices.
Although improved varieties are available in the country, their production and maintenance are still very weak, maintaining that this is one of the reasons why the country continues to import huge quantity of rice from abroad costing over 200 Million dollars every year.
Dr. Arkintayo vowed that they as an organization are committed to buttressing the efforts of the Liberian government through the Ministry of Agriculture to make Liberia a surplus food environment.
He cautioned the participants to get more involved in research activity to find the amicable solution to Liberia low food production most especially rice.
Moreover, Dr. Arkintayo revealed at the end of the training participants will have acquired useful life skills that will make them better farmers and technician in the County.
“Participants will learn how to measure everything he/she does using the simplest tool. These practical sessions will cover: field Measurement (Standard vs. Field Estimation), Seed Rate Calculations, Fertilizer Calculations (single and compound fertilizers), Calculating Pace and Pace Factor, Using Pace Factor in Field Estimation, Estimating Weight Measurements, Survey and Area Calculations, Germination test, Seedbed preparation and management, Transplanting etc,” he stressed.
All of the fifteen counties of Liberia are represented by their county agriculture coordinators, District Agriculture Officers and focal persons from the Ministry of Agriculture respectively.