Trainees from the first and second batches of African extension agronomists trained at the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) are currently implementing their own local PalayCheck systems in their respective countries, and the training of a new batch is ongoing.
Lea Abaoag, head of the Technology Management and Services Division of PhilRice, said that the training of the African extension agronomists by the agency was conducted through the partnership of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and PhilRice under the overall South-South Cooperation project, an initiative of the Coalition for Africa Rice Development to increase rice production in Africa.
Abaoag, who is also the overall coordinator of the season-long rice farming training program, said that the African extension agronomists were trained on PalayCheck and Palayamanan systems at the PhilRice Central Experiment Station in Nueva Ecija. PalayCheck is an integrated crop management system for rice, while Palayamanan is a diversified rice-based farming system.
For the third time since June 2011, another batch of African extension agronomists are being trained at PhilRice. Seventeen trainees from African countries Cameroon, Gambia, Liberia and Zambia started their four-month long training on June 11 this year.
One of the trainees, Mangwi Perpetua from Cameroon, said that their country does not have check systems and they are gradually coming to understand how the PalayCheck system works.
Rice consumption in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has the fastest growth among countries outside Asia according to IRRI.
According to the African Agricultural Technology Foundation, Africa’s rice consumption is within the range of 21 million metric tons (MT), but there is a deficit of about 6.5 million MT per year valued at $1.7 billion that has to be imported annually.