On-farm seed production through Edget farmers' seed multiplier and marketing cooperative union: Practices and lessons from Basic
Shortage of seed of rust resistant varieties is a challenge of small holder farmers in wheat production. To successfully address this issue, one of the essential elements in wheat production system is farmer's access to quality seed of improved varieties. This paper presents the experience of on-farm basic and pre-basic seed production of newly released rust resistant wheat varieties. For the first time in the country, On-Farm basic and pre-basic seed production of wheat varieties was carried out in two districts/woredas (Silti and Soddo) of two specific locations (Loke faka and Wacho) where the Edget Farmers' Seed Multiplier and Marketing Union was licensed to produce some crop varieties (cereals and pulse), beginning in the 2011/2012 cropping season. Model farmers from primary cooperatives were selected based on the past experience they had with the union in producing certified seed. Selected farmers and relevant experts were trained on how earh seed of wheat is produced. Accordingly seed multiplication of four wheat varieties was conducted with frequent monitoring and evaluation at the course of multiplication.
As a result sufficient and quality basic seed of newly released wheat varieties was produced on-farm in both Loke and Wacho locations for own utilization and seed market. The result of the experiment revealed that it was possible to multiply quality wheat seed provided that partnership (with GOs and/or NGOs) is well-built and cooperative farmers do farm management practices as per the recommendations. On-farm seed production can be sustainable if the strong partnership exists among stakeholders, and wheat seed growers are given premium prices for their seed which is supported by the legal frame work that encourages the seed production of early generations. More importantly, the result of this experiment has a useful implication on government policies and strategies and government institutions' practice on farm early seed generation production and marketing.