india-queen-basmati-rice-by-bielAn amazing synergy among all the stakeholders, subsistence farmers in Kolda have become prosperous in less than two years doing a booming business in quality seed. With such extraordinary efforts, Kolda for the first time has become a major hub for upland rice seed production in Senegal. This transformation is helping the country move faster towards the goal set by the government to achieve rice self-sufficiency by 2017. PNAR coordinates the various efforts relating to the development of the national rice sector and seeks to help the country achieve rice sufficiency by 2017 by producing 1.6 million tons of paddy (1.08 million tons of milled rice). Although earlier the government had determined that 80% of this would come from irrigated rice and 20% from upland rice, it decided to increase the share of upland rice production to 40% in 2014.

Anambé success story: Reasons behind the success

Anambé was identified by the National Rice Self-Sufficiency Program (PNAR) as a hub for upland rice seed production because the valley has good water control facilities and also the possibility of supplemental irrigation, if necessary, during the off-season. The government is also keen to improve the livelihoods of farming communities in Kolda, one of the poorest regions of Senegal. This change in strategy was largely thanks to a program supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in southern Senegal, which demonstrated that the productivity of upland rice system could be significantly improved using high-yielding varieties such as the new rice for Africa (NERICA) with good agricultural practices, mechanization, and an efficient seed system.

The Anambé success story started in July 2014 when FEPROBA received 60 tons of seed of NERICA 4 and NERICA 6 rice varieties for the upland ecology and WITA 9 variety for the lowland ecology. The seeds were distributed by the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice) and the Senegal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Equipment as part of the Japan-funded Emergency Rice Initiative implemented by AfricaRice. The seed growers were supported through advisory and extension services. Since the beginning of the initiative, AfricaRice has been an active partner of the government in the training of trainers, including extension agents, in improved rice production practices. AfricaRice’s offer of seeds came at an opportune moment and they decided to distribute them to FEPROBA farmers, in collaboration with the Society for Agricultural and Industrial Development in Senegal (SODAGRI) so that they could multiply them for large-scale distribution.

Improving the seed system

Anambé seed growers have been following government procedures to produce certified seed. Quality control of the seeds is done by the National Seed Division (DISEM) starting from the field. Seed samples are tested for germination, physical purity and moisture content in the government seed testing laboratory in Tambacounda. Many members of Anambé valley farmers’ federation (FEPROBA), which has about 4,600 farmers, have many success stories to tell. Some of them are building new houses with the cash from seed sale. They are benefiting from the government’s subsidy scheme for buying agricultural machinery and are able to get bank loans because of the profits they are making from seed production.

Source: Ms. Savitri Mohapatra, (AfricaRice/ GRiSP).