Farmers Training on Informal Seed Production of Wheat and Lentil
Anser, Muhammad Ramzan
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Wheat and lentil are important crops to ensure food and nutritional security in dryland region. However, yield of these crops is quite low. Farmers plant local varieties using their own unimproved seeds. Low crop yield affects livelihood of these low income group farming communities majority of who have limited livelihood beyond agriculture. Increasing population and shrinking land and other resources indicate that crop yields in barani areas will have to increase per unit area on a sustainable basis to ensure food and nutritional security. Improved crop cultivars have been developed by NARS and were selected by farmers for their ecologies during the last season. However, their adoption would depend on availability of quality seed. There is no seed company operating in dryland areas, therefore, informal seed production was the preferred choice. Farmers’ training in informal seed production was therefore, planned under CRP Dryland Systems to develop capacity of rural farming communities produce quality seed for themselves as well as for their nearby farmers. This activity was a continuity of the last season effort whereby the local farming communities had selected the most suited wheat and lentil cultivar for their areas through participatory varietal selection on-farm trials in Chakwal. The consultations with farmers lead to selection of four community members suitable for training as seed entrepreneur. The one day training session was organized at BARI Chakwal on July 05, 2015. The event targeted capacity development of the selected farmers (04) on informal seed production of wheat and lentil. Farmers were demonstrated various practices whereby they could maintain purity of the seed once they are able to get certified seed of the cultivar of their choice. It was agreed that the session would be followed by supervised sowing of seed increase plots of one selected variety each of Wheat (3 acres, Dharabi-11) and lentil (1 acre, Markaz-09) at selected fields of trained farmers, field visits during crop growing season to provide on-site assistance to these farmers in informal seed production. The successful implementation of the activity will help rural farming communities to produce quality seed in their own areas not only for themselves but also for the nearby communities and is expected to help them increase crop yields, resilience and farmers income.