Sowing seeds of prosperity
Nepal is an important wheat producer country in the South Asian region; with wheat being the third most important crop in the country after paddy (rice) and maize. Additionally, high-quality, disease free, processed seed is vital to establishing food security in South Asia. The Agriculture and Forestry University or AFU, located in the fertile Chitwan region of Nepal, is the only agriculture university catering to the needs of the Terai region and has the capability to provide innovative wheat seed solutions for small wheat-growing farmers. In the Delivering Genetic Gain Project or DGGW, the AFU has an active involvement in seed production, processing, and distribution. These activities play a major role in human capacity building in the country involving women empowerment, whole family participation in varietal selection and entrepreneurship for sustainable livelihood and overall development. Currently, under the DGGW?s Innovative Seed System in Nepal, AFU produces and aggregates seeds from farmers in the area and process it through a new seed processing unit, which is a cost-efficient version of machines commonly seen in larger agricultural facilities. At full capacity, the unit can operate up to 18 hours a day and process one ton of seed per hour. The unit it is also capable of processing rice and maize during other cropping seasons. By March 2017, more than 200 farmers applied to be part of the inaugural cohort of farmers trained in producing disease free wheat seed. The inaugural wheat season for the Seed Systems for Nepal Initiative has concluded successfully, with a total of 14 metric tons of disease-free wheat seed processed. The DGGW Seeds Systems for Nepal Initiative envisions to increase the number of empowered farmers next season, which commences on November, 2017.