The International Rice Research Institute, in collaboration with Banaras Hindu University (BHU), the Directorate of Seed Research (DSR), and the National Seed Research and Technology Centre (NSRTC), organized an international hands-on training on quality rice seed production at BHU, Varanasi, India, on Oct. 6-10.

The aim of the training was to improve the skills of researchers and trainers in quality seed production and discuss seed production problems encountered by farmers, researchers, and pertinent agencies. The training included a series of lectures by eminent scientists and experts on varied topics on seed production, quality control, new innovations in seed research, post-harvest technologies, and storage.

Thirty participants from 10 South and Southeast Asian countries attended the training. Participants were exposed to a two-day rigorous hands-on field to nursery bed preparation, seed cleaning, field preparation, transplanting, rouging, among others. Rakesh Kumar Singh, senior scientist at IRRI and training coordinator, and Dr. P.K. Singh, professor, Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, BHU demonstrated panicle selection, emasculation, tagging and bagging.

Participants also visited the seed processing unit of the university and apprised about seed processing techniques. The team visited the demonstration field and various laboratories at DSR for an overview of new seed management research and technologies.

Despite the use of modern production technologies it is still a great challenge to bridge the yield gap as average yield lies much below the attainable yield of rice varieties in the region. The seed being the basic input in agriculture, good quality seed alone can increase grain yield by 5-20%. In view of the importance of quality seed in enhancing rice productivity.

“It is important to ensure the purity of seed and availability of quality seed to cater the growing demand and increase the rice production,” said Prof. Ravi Pratap Singh, director of the Institute of Agricultural Sciences at BHU, during his opening remarks. “Optimization of water management technologies is also important to harness the potentials of high yielding rice varieties.”

Dr. Umesh S. Singh, IRRI senior scientist and STRASA South Asia Regional Project coordinator applauded the contribution of BHU in rice research and thanked the University for providing valuable support to the training. “It is important to tone and rebind, time and again the mechanism of quality seed production,” said Dr. U.S. Singh.

Mukesh Gautam, managing director, Uttar Pradesh Seed Development Corporation, distributed certificates to the participants at the end of the training. He also shared his insights on quality seed production and processing. “Production and productivity of rice increased considerably over the last 2-3 years in Uttar Pradesh with higher seed replacement rate,” Dr. Gautam. “The STRASA model is fine example of adoption of new technologies that increased rice yield in very short time.”

The training was concluded with vote of thanks by Dr. Manzoor Hussain Dar, senior associate acientist at IRRI.

Among the dignitaries who attended the event were Dr. S. Rajendra Prasad, director, DSR; Dr. R.K. Trivedi, director, NSRTC, Varanasi, and deputy commissioner for Quality Control, Ministry of Agriculture; and Dr. A. Vaishmapayan, dean of the College of Agriculture, BHU.

The training on quality rice seed production was supported by STRASA, CURE, GRiSP, IRRI, BHU, and Trukai Industries Ltd, Papua New Guinea.