To increase agricultural productivity, 19 participants from Africa along with 11 Filipino farmers undergo a two-month training at Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) in Maligaya, Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija, starting Aug. 6.
Jason Beebout, project leader for Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)-International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) Collaboration on Training for Sub-Saharan countries, said the internationally-funded activity is hoped to help in achieving food security in this southern of the Sahara.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations data showed that “several countries in (Africa) remain highly dependent on food imports to ensure adequate food supplies, with some subregions depending on imports to fill up to a third of their cereal needs.”
Moreover, 153 million or about 26% of its population above 15 years old suffered from severe food insecurity in 2014-2015.
“It is heartwarming to [witness] that despite language and cultural barriers, African and Filipino farmer-participants unite in a room to strengthen their capacities as food producers of their countries. We enjoin [you] to share what [you will learn] from this training so that we can achieve the food and livelihood security we are aiming for,” Beebout expressed.
African participants are from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo, and Cote d’Ivoire. Other trainees are based in Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, Senegal, and Togo.
Together with 11 extensionists from Mindanao, they are being trained on rice seed production and extension methods. Rice crop management technologies, production of quality seed, mechanization, post-harvest operations, and methods of promoting quality seed are also discussed.
Closing on Sept 28, the training equips the participants to work together with farmers to optimize local seed production and maximize marketing opportunities in their respective communities.
JICA, the office funding the project; IRRI; Global Rice Science Partnership; and PhilRice implement and manage the training. The Coalition of African Rice Development also supports the three-year capacity-building project to strengthen the national rice development strategies of its member countries.