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Harmonized Seed Security (HaSSP) Community Seed Projects Training Workshops
6 April 2011


As part of output on Action Research: "Community based small scale seed production enterprises in rural areas established and strengthened." In each of the four pilot countries, trainings workshops were conducted for the small scale farmers. The objective of these trainings was to equip farmers with seed production skills andentrepreneurship. The Malawi workshop was organized by Association of Smallholder Seed Multiplication Action Group-ASSMAG and conducted on the 9th and 10th of December 2010. The training included a training session from the Seed Services Unit-SSU. Swaziland had the farmers' training on 21st December 2010; this was organized and conducted by Seed Quality Control Services. In Zambia the Seed Control and Certification Institute-SCCI organized and conducted the workshop from the 9th to 10th of December 2010. Zimbabwe's workshop was organized and conducted by GRM International in partnership with Seed Services Zimbabwe. This took place on the 20th of December 2010.

Malawi
The workshops were conducted with the two groups - Mvera Dowa and Lumbadzi-Lilongwe. The opening was done by the chair of the marketing committee Mr Nyama who introduced the project by giving a brief overview of HaSSP. The objective of the training was; sensitization on the HASSP project to the farmers; equipping farmers with GAP in seed production and sensitization on governance. The first presentation was by Mrs Nyirenda from Seed Services Unit-SSU, it was on: land identification, land preparations, planting, fertilization, isolation techniques, harvesting, certification procedures; seed treatment and storage. The second presentation dealt much on the roles and responsibilities of the members in the association of Smallholder Seed Multiplication Action Group (ASSMAG) structure. This was facilitated by Mr Nyama. The last presentation was from Mr Mbulo focusing on financial management. This included record keeping, importance of budgets, budgets and gross margin analysis, assets, cash, sources of income etc.

Swaziland
The main objective of the training was to equip the Bumbeni Farmers' Association (Shewula) with seed production and seed business management skills so that they can be able to produce and sell ZM 611 maize variety for many years to come.

Topics covered in this training included seed production techniques by Mr S E Simelane. On seed production he covered: importance of open-pollinated maize varieties in seed production; isolation distance and its importance; best time of planting seed maize; crop cultivation; plant protection; weed control; rouging; harvesting; certification standards for maize; and seed inspection and testing. The second session was on seed business management conducted by Mr C M Mthethwa. The following topics were covered :controllable factors critical for success of a seed business; external factors influencing seed sector development; three basic components in the management of a business; business governance; financial indicators; production capacity; marketing issues; personnel; government and institutional factors; market potential; production and processing; financial security; and marketing strategy.

Zambia
The objective of the training was to impart knowledge on seed production and entrepreneurship to the farmers. The training was conducted on the 10th December 2010. The workshop was officially opened by Mr Benny Tembo the DACO for Kapiri Mposhi district. Topics covered during the training included: Zambia seed industry; seed certification and legislation in Zambia; seed production principles; small scale seed processing; principles of seed testing & storage and seed marketing and entrepreneurship.

Zimbabwe
The objective of the workshopwas to conduct pre-planting training on groundnuts. A brief overview of HaSSP was given by Dr I Mharapara. He mentioned the overall objective of HaSSP, its aim and the outputs on capacity strengthening and establishment of community seed projects.

The main training session started with Ms T Chakanyuka from Seed Services presenting on the seed classes from breeders' seed through certified seed; registration procedures; isolation distance; seed crop management; rouging and preceding crops. The following presentation focused on agronomic activities centred on production of groundnut seed. Mr L Makumbe from Plant Quarantine Services Institute deliberated on Quarantine and Phyto-sanitary issues. The farmers were made aware of the existence of harmonized pest lists to facilitate trade within the SADC region and beyond. Farmers were encouraged to scout for pests, notify extension personnel of any pest problems and take appropriate action against pests in time to avoid groundnut seed crop rejection due to pests. Emphasis was also made on the need to adhere to agronomic principles set for groundnuts as some have a scientific bearing on occurrence of pests such as plant spacing, crop rotation, fertilizer application rates and weed control. Mr C Mujaju gave the overall summary of the expectations that farmers had to match and the potential possibilities that farmers were able to achieve under the project. The farmers had a field visit to a local farmer Mr J Z Chebangu who has his own irrigation scheme and is interested in seed production.

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