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The seventh Regional Wheat Workshop for Eastern, Central and Southern Africa

Author: Tanner, D.G.
Author: Mwangi, W.M.
Year: 1992
ISBN: 968-6127-62-3
Abstract: The Representative of The Director General of CIMMYT, Dr. George Varughese, Workshop Organizers, Ladies and Gentlemen: First, I want to welcome you to Kenya, and, particularly, to Nakuru, which is the Provincial Headquarters for Rift Valley Province. Secondly, I wish to say how delighted I am to be able to come and share with the participants of the Seventh Regional Wheat Workshop. When I looked through the program for the four days that you are going to be here, presenting the results of your research work, I noticed that the majority of the scientists here come from countries in this region (i.e. Eastern, Central and Southern Africa). I interpret this as an indication that the work you will be presenting this week results from research to address the problems facing farmers in this region. I also notice that there are several papers by scientists from elsewhere, particularly CIMMYT staff. I appeal to you to make good use of these four days and to exchange ideas. See what common problems exist, and how we can best complement each other's work to solve the problems facing farmers in our region. Let us remember that none of the countries in the region are self-sufficient in wheat production. Each country has, to a large extent, to depend on importation of this important commodity. Ladies and Gentlemen, I am a scientist who has worked in the field for many years - by the way I am still in the field and in touch with farmers. I want to express my belief to you that in our region we have the potential to produce enough wheat to meet our demand. However, there are many obstacles which must be solved. I know you are aware of many of these, and you will be discussing them in some of the papers that will be presented in this workshop. Let me mention a few: (1) the demand for higher yielding wheat varieties that are resistant to diseases and pests; (2) the demand for wheat varieties suitable for difficult environments that are (a) hot and dry, (b) dry and cold, and (c) areas with difficult soils, such as the acidic and heavy clay soils; (3) agronomic packages for production in marginal environments must be developed; (4) crop protection is an important component of crop production in our region and cannot be over emphasized; (5) farmers' limitations must be considered when developing appropriate technology for them; (6) the ever increasing cost of production inputs limits the extent to which the potential of new varieties is realized. All these are important aspects that researchers of your caliber should be thinking about to ensure that wheat production in the region improves. However, I do not want to imply that it is an easy task. Research is expensive, and it is certainly difficult to provide all the requirements for research. No country in the region can boast of adequate support for research. This then calls for collaboration of scientists in the region so that they complement each other's efforts. There is a lot of research activity in each country. However, I regret to say that there is too much duplication of effort. Let me now turn to the role that CIMMYT is playing in the region in the area of wheat research. CIMMYT has been a good partner in business. When we could not obtain the necessary plant material, CIMMYT bridged that gap by facilitating the acquisition of such material; CIMMYT scientists in the region have been collaborators and not supervisors. Through CIMMYT, many projects have been established to yield results that are of direct use by our farmers. In Kenya, we have several commercial wheat varieties that were introduced through the CIMMYT program. Scientists in the region should be properly linked so that when technology is developed in one country, it is available to the others for adaptive testing and adoption by the farming community. Through collaboration in the region, some major problems have been solved. I think of the desert locust control and armyworm forecasting services which are handled on a regional basis. Without the cooperation of scientists in different countries, we would not have had the success we have achieved in the control of these pests. I am also aware of the germplasm exchange between scientists, and I am particularly pleased with the role CIMMYT has played in linking scientists in this way and availing germplasm where it is needed. Ladies and Gentlemen, let me not overemphasize the need for cooperation, because I know it is very clear to you. Wheat production is largely mechanized world-wide, and most production technology is developed for large-scale farms. I want to turn our attention to small-scale farmers. We in the region cannot afford to ignore this category of farmers. More and more small-scale farmers some with less than a hectare of land are now growing wheat. Unfortunately, the technology available to them is that developed for the large-scale farmers. You should devote some time to discussing the technology requirements for small- scale wheat production. Let me also remind you of the need for environmental conservation. The tillage systems commonly used in land preparation for wheat production encourage soil erosion. For most of us in the region, soil is an asset that we need to conserve. It is a challenge for the scientists, therefore, to develop tillage systems that minimize the loss of soil. Soil water management should also be addressed especially when considering wheat production in the drier areas. Let us not forget that wheat production consumes pesticides, which can be very dangerous to the environment. Many pesticides that are unacceptable for the- developed world find their way to this region. It is for you scientists to keep pace with pesticide research, and judiciously select those that effectively solve a given problem while at the same time reducing the hazard to the environment. Effective management of crop pests, be they weeds, diseases or insects, with minimum use of pesticide should be the prime aim of wheat scientists. It is my hope that as you discuss papers addressing these research topics, you will bear in mind the selective use of pesticides. Ladies and Gentlemen, I know that you have a heavy schedule before you, but I feel I must not stop before I remind you that although we do not have enough wheat in the region there may be alternatives. I have tasted bread baked from wheat flour blended with flour from other cereal grains or root crops such as potatoes, and, in most cases, I found the bread very acceptable. Think about this aspect of research and consider other food crops that are available to us and that could help to bridge the gap. I am pleased to note that there are papers discussing the production of triticale. I wish to see some work on the utilization of this crop to bridge the deficiency of wheat in this region. As I conclude, Ladies and Gentlemen, I want to urge you to seriously think about the research results that you are generating, some of which you will present here. Let us not forget the clients we are developing technology for - the farmers. Lastly, Ladies and Gentlemen, let me take this opportunity to thank CIMMYT for sponsoring this workshop, and all those who have participated in planning this workshop. Of course, there would be no workshop without participants, and I want to thank all of you who are presenting papers for the effort you have put in your research and in the preparation of these papers. I have read through the abstracts, and it leaves no doubt in my mind that there is a wealth of knowledge to be shared during these four days. With those few remarks, Ladies and Gentlemen, I wish you a successful workshop. I now have the pleasure to declare your workshop officially opened.
Format: PDF
Language: English
Publisher: CIMMYT
Serie: CIMMYT Regional Wheat Workshop for Eastern, Central and Southern Africa
Copyright: CIMMYT manages Intellectual Assets as International Public Goods. The user is free to download, print, store and share this work. In case you want to translate or create any other derivative work and share or distribute such translation/derivative work, please contact indicating the work you want to use and the kind of use you intend; CIMMYT will contact you with the suitable license for that purpose.
Type: Conference Proceedings
Region: Eastern Africa
Region: Southern Africa
Region: Central Africa
Pages: ix, 520 pages
Conference Place: Nakuru, Kenya
Serie Number: No. 7
Agrovoc: WHEAT
Agrovoc: PESTS

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  • Sustainable Intensification
    Sustainable intensification agriculture including topics on cropping systems, agronomy, soil, mechanization, precision agriculture, etc.
  • Wheat
    Wheat - breeding, phytopathology, physiology, quality, biotech

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