Cleaning seed for improved productivity

At a recent three-day workshop, held at the Qushtapa seed cleaning factory in Erbil, Ministry of Agriculture officials learned how to operate mobile seed cleaning machines. The staff who participated in the workshop will now train other trainers. This training-of-trainers (ToT) will speed the spread of small-scale seed cleaning technology to farmers and private sector operators.

Cleaning seed is extremely important: it means that crops have fewer problems with pests and fungal diseases, they are less likely to fail, and they store well, meaning that grain last longer.  Given that cleaning seed by hand is a time consuming and inefficient process, encouraging the use of seed cleaning machines is important for making the local multiplication and production of seed more efficient, and for ensuring that farmers have access to quality seed suited to local conditions. Ultimately, cleaning seed is a way of boosting productivity.

The workshop introduced participants to the principles of cleaning and grading seed. Participants studied the seed cleaning machines and learned how to operate, calibrate, and adjust them. Hands-on exercises in operating, greasing, and maintaining the seed cleaners gave them opportunities to practice what they had learned. Participants also practiced connecting a machine to a power supply and diesel generator.

Trainees were enthusiastic about the workshop and all those who took part went away eager to use what they had learned and to transfer their new knowledge to other trainers.