The SEMIs International workshop training on seed production was held from 10th – 15th August, 2015. The course which was had in attendance 26 participants was coordinated by Prof. Kiarie Njoroge and Prof. Florence Olubayo both from CAVS. Participants were mostly field technicians in their seed companies and represented 13 countries to the workshop namely; Niger, Ghana, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Mali, Rwanda, Uganda, Mozambique, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Malawi, South Sudan and DR Congo.
Training methodology consisted of lectures and practical sessions. Lectures were conducted at the 8:4:4 boardroom where topical areas were presented on such as; seed classification systems, seed production planning and cost planning, mating systems and hybrid production, and vegetative propagation. Field practical sessions were held at the field station where participants had opportunity to practice bagging, cross pollinating and selfing of different varieties of maize, sunflower, pearl millet, sorghum, green grams, beans, wheat, oats and barley.
Similarly the trainees had laboratory practicals at the Department of Plant Science where they had hands on training on tissue culture propagation, grafting and budding plus DNA extraction at the plant molecular laboratory.
During the training, two day field visits were made to KEPHIS Lanet and Seed outgrower plantations in Kabarak. Aspects of seed quality in terms of germination, moisture content and purity were demonstrated at the KEPHIS Lanet laboratories while seed sampling for tests and DUS determination were shown at the field. Internal quality checks for individual seed company is important as it prevents poor quality seeds from being delivered to farmers as well as seed not being rejected by the regulator. At the Outgrower farms in Kabarak, the ratio of male to female plants came out clearly; 3:1 or 6:2. Males are usually inbred lines while females are often single crossed. The maize variety which was being maintained by the outgrowers, DK8031, had shorter males while the females were rather tall. A reason for this is to ensure the male tassels are same level with female silks thereby pollen are blown with ease across to silks.