Successful promotion of participatory seed production
USAID’s HSAD program has successfully promoted the concept of farmer participatory seed production among Iraqi farmers, convincing an increasing number of producers about the importance of quality seed production for their food and nutritional security. Post release multiplication of approved varieties under HSAD and Ministry of Agriculture technical supervision was taken up on the fields of 31 farmers in eight provinces across Iraq: Wasit, Nineveh, Kerbela, Baghdad, Al-Najaf, Kirkuk, Babylon and Di’ala.
The emphasis of the Program was to make farmers understand the importance of quality seed production through ‘Learning by doing.’ The resulting seed crop was uniform and farmers achieved a yield potential of up to 5 tons/hectare.
A farmer from Wasit, Mr. Mohamed Saed Abdela, told HSAD staff that he had never seen IPA 99 – an improved variety of quality seed – perform so uniformly and generate such high yields. Similarly, another farmer, Manaf Abd Al Rahman, from Kirkuk, proudly showed HSAD researchers his crop and had spoken to neighboring farmers about the benefits of being involved in the participatory seed production program in the future.
Mr. Kale Abl Aziz, a farmer from Nineveh, also remarked that following a poor cropping season the year before, he would now be able to pay off his debts and meet the needs of his family as a result of his involvement in the initiative.
Given the success experienced by participating farmers, more and more are demonstrating an interest in participatory seed production, and as a consequence, the HSAD team is planning accordingly and looking to expand the program for the forthcoming cropping season.
Further expansion will mean food and nutritional security for more farmers and their families, and sustainable agricultural development for Iraq through the popularization and use of quality seed.