SeedCast brings improved, high-yielding rice varieties closer to Tanzanian farmers

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By Martin Ndomondo , Dr Daniel Menge , and Dr Ajay Panchbhai

SeedCast-Tanzania was officially launched by Dr. Patrick Ngwediagi, the Director General of the Tanzania Official Seed Certification Institute (TOSCI), during the three-day NARES-IRRI breeding network’s Annual Advancement Meeting held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania last 30 August 2023.

SeedCast is a digital innovation that aims to strengthen rice seed demand and supply information by closing the gap between seed traders and farmers. Through the app, Director of Policy and Planning, Dr Dennis Tippe said, “The app acts as a hub connecting farmers, seed suppliers, and policymakers, fostering much-needed collaboration in the Tanzanian seed chain. It provides verified data about where farmers can find quality seeds, how much they cost, and how far they need to travel to get them. The app’s analytics will also serve the national need to match seed production with demand”. This can help encourage farmers to adopt improved, higher-yielding varieties, speeding up varietal replacement.

SeedCast was originally developed and first launched by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in India in collaboration with the Odisha Department of Agriculture and partners from the Odisha State Seed Corporation (OSSC) in 2018 and is still being successfully used. The SeedCast-Tanzania plan began in June 2021 under IRRI’s broader mission of South-South Collaboration but more specifically aligned to the project Accelerated Genetic Gain in Rice (AGGRi) Alliance which began in 2019.

A consultative and inclusive needs assessment survey was conducted across the seed chain in Tanzania later in August 2021 which showed that in Tanzania, there was no formal procedure for aggregating seed demand, farmers were not aware of improved rice varieties, and digital innovation can be a solution to challenges faced by the rice seed systems and thus by the rice…

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