The Open Doors Day for the PADFA stakeholders in seeds and paddy rice production is a reallly innovative method of training farmers, in the sense that instead of a usual sort of refreshing course in a room, farmers are shown directly on the field what is going on and what one is talking about. Practicality is the key word. That’s what explained Tam Fidelis, Researcher/Agronomist at IRAD-Bambui, and Focal Point PADFA :
« To developp the rice sector, the best way is to look at the value chain of rice. And in the value chain of rice one starts from seed production to paddy production. This one takes place in the field. This is the reason why we took the farmers to the field, to show them how a rice field should normally look like : they’ll be able to see and compare with what they have un their fields, say in Menchum Division. And it’s actually very important that we started from the Seed Production and Experimentaion Plot at Ndop.
Secondly, when you move up the chain, you get into processing, because the rice from the field is supposed to be processed, and for its quality to be competitive it needs to have a certain standard.That’s why we brought them to the Quality Processing Center which IRAD has put in place at Ndop to train farmers in quality processing of rice, for them to see by themselves how it works. »
APPLYING THE TECHNIQUES ONCE BACK HOME
Yes, those 23 farmers came, saw and learned a lot at this ODD. But how can one be sure they’ll correctly apply the knowledge acquired there ? In particular as far as the costly equipements of modern rice processing are concerned ? Mr Tam : « l told them the necessity of putting in place centers that gather all the different stakeholders in the value chain, in the form of cooperatives. With a cooperative farmers are able to acquire such a modern rice processing system. Because an individual cannot. And when l say stakeholders, there are : farmers, microfinances, elites and the Gov’t. That’s the ‘’PPP approach »(Public Private Partnership) : the microfinance can come in with their money, as we’re just doing at Ndop with CCA which finances some of the activities of the Center, as well as the Gouvernement through IRAD ; and the private, that is the farmers.
So bringing all these people into a platform, they’ll be able to acquire such machines and use them in the Menchum Valley.
That’s one of the reasons why we’ve decided to do this ODD at Ndop : we’ve already established and put up such a platform which is working, and it can ne replicated elsewhere. »