Ensuring a market for maize seed produced using community based seed production (CBSP) in the value chain system, and enhancing management and marketing competencies of local partners are among the strategic activities in Phase IV of the Hill Maize Research Project (HMRP), supported by SDC and USAID. The HMRP, in collaboration with the National Maize Research Program (NMRP), completed a 20-day training course on maize seed production technologies (15 days) and seed business plan development and marketing (5 days). The course took place at NMRPRampur, Chitwan, from 27 March to 16 April 2012. A total of 31 participants (11 women) attended the course; they were selected from CBSP groups collaborating with HMRP and are expected to work as community seed promoters in their respective groups afterwards.
The first course component on maize seed production technologies covered diverse topics, such as agronomic practices in maize seed production, farmers’ practices in maize varietal development, source seed production technologies, crop management technology (including insect pest management), improved seed production through CBSP, quality control, and truthful labelling. The second component covered HMRP seed marketing strategies, agricultural marketing, seed production costs, maize seed value-chain analysis, seed business plan development, bookkeeping at the CBSP group level, potential sourcing of local state funds by CBSP groups, the importance of gender equity and social inclusion in the CBSP approach, an introduction to cooperatives and private companies, and the basic legal requirements to establish them.
Each trainee developed a comprehensive action plan and presented it on the last day of the course. Participants were evaluated before and after each course component and the first-ranked candidate was recognized. Speaking at the closing session, Dr. K.B. Koirala, NMRP National Coordinator, expressed his appreciation to the HMRP and emphasized the importance of this type of training for empowering local communities. Dr. G. Ortiz-Ferrara, HMRP Team Leader, thanked the course participants, training coordinator, and resource persons for their help and cooperation in making the course a success. Finally, Dr. Koirala and Dr. Ortiz-Ferrara jointly distributed certificates and training kits to all participants.