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WorldVeg identifies training needs of the seed industry in India

Plant breeders from across the subcontinent who want to keep up with advancements in the discipline shared their training needs with WorldVeg

A breeder explained his priorities during the workshop.

WorldVeg South Asia regularly receives requests for training from private sector vegetable breeders in India and Bangladesh seeking to upgrade their skills, and with good reason. The Center’s depth of applied research experience makes it one of the few institutes capable of providing a regular learning curriculum for this technical group.

To identify vegetable breeders’ training needs, a half-day prioritization workshop was organised for the participants of the recent tomato field day and G2P-SOL training school hosted by WorldVeg. Three groups of around 30 people each prioritized a predetermined set of training topics. Interestingly, the mixed groups of junior and senior breeders revealed similar kinds of training needs, varying slightly only in the specific topics.  “Breeding for specific disease resistance in a specific crop” was rated as a top priorities by almost all respondents.

Seed company representatives eagerly participated in the prioritization exercise as they felt their needs seldom have been given serious thought by industry; breeders never had an opportunity to meet and discuss their training requirements, they said. WorldVeg’s pioneering initiative to host a well-organized platform in which they could interact and express their desires and concerns was greatly appreciated by all.

South Asia Regional Director Warwick Easdown and Training Coordinator P.V.L. Bharathi explained the Center’s experience in addressing the training needs of the seed industry, using the latest training courses run in Bangladesh as examples. The group was impressed with the way the courses were designed. WorldVeg vegetable breeders Peter Hanson and Derek Barchenger explained the content that could go into each selected topic.  An online survey facilitated by Associate Specialist Mandy Lin to assess the training needs of the G2P-SOL training school group produced similar results.

“WorldVeg welcomes volunteers to help us design an appropriate curriculum for vegetable breeders in India,” said Warwick Easdown. Nearly all agreed to assist WorldVeg with planning and designing a training curriculum to enhance their vegetable breeding skills.

Story and photos: Warwick Easdown and P.V.L. Bharathi

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Breeders ranked the topics of most importance. The survey will help guide future training course offerings from WorldVeg.