Extension and crop officers from the Republic of Guinea have participated in a three-day training organized by WAAPP Sierra Leone and facilitated by JICA. They joined over 30 extension and crop officers from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS) in Sierra Leone to go through the joint WAAPP-SL and JICA Training of Trainers workshop on ‘Technical Packaging on Rice Production’. The session took place in Kambia.
The training, which was funded by WAAPP Sierra Leone and facilitated by JICA, was organized as a follow-up to a similar training organized by JICA for extension and crop officers of MAFFS and was meant to further strengthen the capacity of extension officers in the ministry and by extension strengthen the capacity of their counterparts in Guinea who are unfamiliar with the package.
B.J. Bangura, Director of Extension in MAFFS, underpinned the importance of the training by pointing to the successful implementation of the technical package by JICA with local farmers in the Kambia district. This success, he noted, needed to be replicated in attaining the goal of productivity by farmers in the various regions of the country.
“Under the auspices of WAAPP, the training is primarily geared towards enhancing the adoption of new and improved technologies on rice and cassava focusing not only on the quantity produced, but also improving on the quality of what is produced to foster consumer acceptability,” he explained. “Knowledge gained by the trainees will be quite useful as you are expected to cascade it to grassroots farmers for wider benefits.”
Mohamed S. Kamara, Assistant Director of Crops at MAFFS, explained the role of his division, which he said works towards improving yields on food crops which fall under cereals such as rice, maize and millet; tubers such as sweet potatoes and cassava; and legumes such as cowpeas etc.
“We are currently undergoing a sector review which aims at minimizing the dependence on imported rice while establishing a thriving market platform for locally produced rice,” he said.
Takashi Kimijima, JICA’s technical advisor on the Sustainable Rice Development Project in Sierra Leone and lead facilitator at the training, stressed the importance of the ‘Technical Package on Rice Production’, noting that it well suits the ecologies in Sierra Leone and can be successfully implemented in the country with increase in yields of up to four tons per hectare.
“The importance of the TP-R is on timeliness in planting following certain technical methods in correct fertilizer application, draining of water at the right time, etc., to allow the rice to grow well,” he explained.
The Technical Package on Rice Production is an extension guide prepared by the Sustainable Rice Development Project funded by JICA to help farmers realize higher yields with profits.