Tanzania: Training in Participatory Variety Selection

Tanzania: Training in Participatory Variety Selection

In order to meet specific milestones for the ICRISAT-HOPE project, a workshop was held in Tanzania from 17 to 19 May.

The workshop was organized by the Selian Agricultural Research

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Institute (SARI), Arusha, under the leadership of Frida Mgonja ( Principal Investigator – Tanzania) and in collaboration with ICRISAT-Nairobi. Frank Mmbando of SARI, Elias Letayo, Hombolo Agricultural Research Institute, Dodoma and Patrick Audi, Henry Ojulong and Eric Manyasa (ICRISAT-Nairobi) also assisted in the organization of the workshop.

The workshop was held at the Department of Social Services Training Institute, Singida and was attended by 41 participants (13 women and 28 men) comprising extension staff members, farmer seed producers, seed stockists and farmer groups leaders. The participants were drawn from HOPE project districts of Singida, Rombo, Iramba, Sumbawanga, Kishapu and Kondoa.

The training focused on the use of participatory methods to identify key crop traits in the selection of sorghum/finger millet varieties, collect data using Participatory Variety Selection (PVS) protocols, identify and initiate information and seed dissemination mechanisms for the selected varieties, identify and prioritize sorghum/finger millet production and marketing constraints, and the formulation of an action plan for all the project districts based on the results of points two and four.

The participants observed that the key traits that farmers consider in variety selection were earliness, drought tolerance, panicle size, seed size, seed color, taste and market value.

The participants visited sorghum trials hosted by Nkalakala Tumaini Farmer Field School (FFS) in Iramba district. The preliminary results of the field evaluation showed that the best variety was KARI Mtama I, a released improved sorghum variety in Kenya.

Group discussions concluded that on-farm demonstrations and field days are good for the promotion of improved varieties, while stockists were identified as the most suitable seed supply outlets for certified seed and seed farmers as outlets for Quality Declared Seed of sorghum and finger millet. These are in line with the regulations of the Tanzania Official Seed Certification Institute.

After the workshop, Henry Ojulong and Eric Manyasa visited several PVS trial sites in Singida, Iramba and Rombo districts.