The Seed drying, processing and storage course was conducted from 17th -22nd August, 2015 at the College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences (CAVS). The course attracted 25 participants from 13 African countries. The countries represented during the training were: Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Nigeria, Ghana, Mozambique, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Malawi, South Sudan and DR Congo.
The course was co-coordinators were Prof. Kiarie Njoroge and Dr. Dancun Mbunge both from CAVS. Facilitators of the course included Dr. Yuan Shyy from Iowa States University, Prof. Ayub Gitau, Department of Environmental and Biosystems Engineering, Prof. Michael Okoth, Department of Food Science, Eng. Joakim Mutua, Prof. Florence Olubayo, Prof. Rama Narla among others.
Before the start of the presentations, participants described their expectations as follows:
- To learn how to effectively and efficiently dry, process and store seed
- To learn various ways of seed processing in different parts of Africa from fellow participants
- Get to visit processing plants
- Learn more on seed packaging
- To have knowledge in facilities used for seed drying and processing
- To master the techniques of getting quality seed to farmers
- To know more about seed dressing and seed film coating
- To have knowledge of Seed Chemical calibration
- Safe management procedures and avoidance of pollution
- Lean management of storage pests to avoid seed loss
- To know machine setting for uniformity in seed grading
On course of the workshop, participants had opportunity to share their experiences regarding the types of crops they grow, how they process the crops and challenges they encounter when processing. The experience sharing aspect provided opportunity for participants to learn from each other and borrow ideas for domestication back in their seed companies.
Visits were also made to Simlaw Seed Company in Nairobi, KARLO Katumani Seed Unit and to Dryland Seed Company in Machakos. At Simlaw Seed Company, the idea was to show the participants how a government owned Seed Company operates sustainably without external support. At KALRO Seed Unit in Katumani, the importance of a seed company improving the lives of small scale farmers was evident through the narratives of Dr. Lawrence M’Ragwa at the Seed Unit. Similarly, Dryland Seed Company provided an insight on how a small private seed company could grow and compete with other big seed companies for market given the achievements it had made so far.