With support from the USAID Innovation Lab, the Hort4Nutrition Project conducted a workshop at the World Vegetable Center Eastern and Southern Africa in Arusha, Tanzania from 26 – 29 April 2017 to train participants in crop, pest, soil and water management practices for vegetable and seed production. Nine participants from the Kenyan Agriculture and Livestock Organization (KALRO), AMPATH/Moi University from Kenya, AgriSmart Zambia, Rutgers University and WorldVeg attended the event, which was organized by WorldVeg and Rutgers.
The workshop opened with updates on the project implementation status in each partner country (Tanzania, Kenya, and Zambia). Country highlights focused on variety evaluation, variety release status, seed increase and baseline study activities. The Rutgers team briefed the group on overall project activities and future plans. In addition to coordinating the project, Rutgers is responsible for nutrient content analyses of leaf samples collected from variety trials conducted in the three project countries.
WorldVeg discussed germplasm distribution to project partners in Kenya, Zambia and Rutgers University; variety evaluation for horticultural traits and nutrient content; and postharvest research activities. Another presentation from WorldVeg highlighted a baseline study in Zambia and a seed demand study conducted in Kenya. The group then visited the WorldVeg genebank, lab facilities, postharvest center, screenhouse, seed drying facility, field trials, seed increase activities and demonstration plots.
The second day of the program focused on training to help participants understand 1) experimental protocols for individual location and multilocation trials; 2) integrated crop, pest, soil and water management; and 3) Good Agricultural Practices (GAP). The training program was followed by discussion and drafting of training modules for farmers. Five modules were drafted for vegetable producers covering site selection and land preparation; raising and transplanting seedlings; crop, soil, water and pest management; harvesting and postharvest handling; and product marketing. Vegetable seed production will be considered in a separate module. Detailed contents of each module are now being finalized by Rutgers and WorldVeg.
The workshop concluded with a discussion of future activities, especially cultivar evaluation and seed increase, to be undertaken in each participating country.
Story and photo: Fekadu F. Dinssa, David R. Byrnes and James E. Simon