Two training courses financed by SARD-SC have strengthened the capacity of wheat professionals to improve farming practice and increase crop yields. The training courses, which ran over five days each in Zambia and Zimbabwe, provided training for wheat researchers and extension agents.
In Lusaka, Zambia, the Zambian Agricultural Research Institute organized a wheat training course with the financial and technical support of SARD-SC. Twelve young wheat researchers and extension workers attended the workshops.
The Lusaka training course covered plant breeding, yield testing, variety dissemination, and seed multiplication. It also considered improved techniques for nutrient management, land preparation, weed control, crop storage, and other aspects of sustainable wheat production.
After completing the Lusaka training course, participants recognized that quality data collection is essential for effective data analysis and decision making. They also expressed an interest to work further with the SARD-SC wheat program and adopt improved technologies for wheat production, processing, and marketing along the value chain.
In Harare, Zimbabwe, SARD-SC held a training course as part of its in-country wheat project. Twenty-one young researchers and extension workers (5 women and 16 men) attended the course. The participants came mainly from institutes and departments in the Ministry of Agriculture Mechanization and Irrigation Development. Topics covered included field layout, crop management, disease scoring in plants, and data management and analysis.
Both the Lusaka and Harare training courses raised awareness among wheat professionals of the ‘innovation platform’ approach championed by SARD-SC. This approach brings together individuals from different stages of an agricultural value chain to boost understanding and increase uptake of technological solutions.