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Field demonstrations introduce farmers to new rice varieties that are suitable for specific soil and climate condition. However, most conventional demonstrations on large farm plots show rice varieties planted in ideal farming conditions, which makes it difficult for farmers from unfavorable rice-growing areas to compare stress-tolerant rice varieties with those grown in typical soil and climate conditions. Conventional demonstration plots must be linked with the seed system in order for it to showcase the benefits of new STRVs and of quality seed production, certification and storage to seed dealers and farmers.
The feed generated from integrative demonstrations help seed dealers and farmers improve their capacity to assess and address the seed demand and supply gap.
Linking demonstration plots to the formal seed system networks (public and private seed sectors) ensures local seed availability even in remote areas.
Training farmers during integrative demonstrations strengthens their capacity to produce quality seeds and enhance local seed security in the longer run.
IRRI encourages dealer-led demonstration plots, engaging seed dealers in the awareness and diffusion process of promoting STRVs. Making them better knowledge agents in the rice value chain helps pass on their feedback on demonstrated STRVs to farmers.
Farmers are regular customers of dealers, agro-vets, and seed distributors, and often rely on them for information and knowledge on new seeds. Thus, seed dealers are key mediators and a crucial link in the dissemination of information on STRVs. Uniformed or misinformed seed dealers can negatively affect the adoption and dissemination of rice varieties, especially that of STRVs.
Dealer-led demonstrations are a promising method for improving STRV adoption rates and replacing older rice varieties.
As key mediators, seed dealers help in rapid dissemination of information and promote the adoption of STRVs among farmers while enabling better and new business prospects for themselves.
Encouraging Women Entrepreneurs with Training
Women farmers have strong social networks and linkages in the rice farming community. STRV seed generation, quality maintenance, storage, certification, and diffusion can be boosted by investing in the training and skill-building of women farmers and women’s self-help groups (SHGs)
Women farmers have been traditionally engaged in seed production and preservation, and play a crucial role in the formal seed system and dealer networks in promoting STRVs. However, women do not have access to capacity-building activities that hone their skills and technical knowledge on quality seed production and storage.
Investing in and training women farmers encourage their leadership and entrepreneurship spirit, driving them to be ‘seed custodians’ in the farming community.
Local seed security and varietal replacement and improved when women SHGs are empowered
Providing women farmers with better skills and knowledge in seed and farming practices, contributes to improved livelihood security for their household and economic and social welfare in the community.
The IRRI-developed mobile app SeedCast is a web-based digital platform that enables forecasting of seed demand and supply.I helps dealers convey the seed demand of newly demonstrated varieties in a fast and efficient manner.
Accurate and timely information on rice seed demand is needed for the planning, production, and supply of quality seeds to farmers.