AgriTT – Helping Africa Feed Africa

agritt

AgriTT (The Agriculture Technology Transfer program) facilitates the sharing of successful experiences in agricultural development, especially from China, with developing countries to improve agricultural productivity and the food security of low-income people.

AgriTT adopts a whole value chain approach to innovation and technology transfer. This means linking producers, markets and consumers, and encouraging added-value services around new technologies. In Africa the program is supporting government institutions to transfer their knowledge and technologies to farmers. In this way Africa can learn from Chinese technology.

Transferring crop protection technology from China to Rwanda is one project of AgriTT in Africa. Program staffs are working with the Rwandan Agricultural Board (RAB) to provide smallholder farmers access to an environmentally friendly option to control soil pests in vegetable crops. This technology is in the form of naturally occurring tiny parasitic worms, entomopathogenic nematodes, which selectively kill soil-dwelling insects. The target crops for this project are beans, cassava, Irish potato and cabbage. The target key soil insect pests are white grubs, cut worms and bean flies. Rwanda started an incubation center where they multiply nematodes to produce pesticides. This project is a viable solution for Rwandan farmers: while controlling pests in an eco-friendly way, the production quality and quantities increase.

A similar project has started in Uganda to optimize mushroom spawn production. This project aims to establish a national germplasm bank of indigenous Ugandan mushroom resources, to develop stable and reliable high quality spawn for mushroom cultivation under the diverse conditions in different regions of the country. Improvements in mushroom production will address shortages of arable land, provide farmers with additional income, improve the socio-economic status of women, tackle environmental issues and enrich the diet of the local Ugandan population, especially in areas of protein deficiency. Mushrooms are a highly nutritious crop, rich in protein, essential amino acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, mineral and fiber.

In Malawi, another project has started concentrating on the development of low cost diets, optimum feeding strategies and marketing for enhanced tilapia production. This study seeks to complement the AgriTT Malawi Pilot Development Project (PDP) on enhancing of the tilapia value chain. By generating basic knowledge useful for subsequent feed research, it is benchmarking the performance of diets developed, both in this research and in the PDP, against established tilapia diets used in Malawi and also by commercial producers in Zambia and China.

AgriTT has proved to be a successful technology project in Africa as it transfers knowledge to local farmers to overcome agricultural challenges. Africa can draw on China’s widely acknowledged experience and expertise in this field to feed Africa.

Blogpost by Rosine Nishimwe, nirosine(at)gmail.com, #AASW7 social reporter.
This post represents the author’s views only.
Picture courtesy AgriTT

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