Wheat consumption is rapidly rising in sub-Saharan Africa. Imports account for over 70% of the region’s needs. The SARD-SC project aims to raise wheat productivity in low – income sub –Saharan African countries and contribute to curbing both wheat imports and improving food security and livelihoods in Eritrea,Ethiopia,Mali,Mauritania,Niger,Nigeria,Sudan,Tanzania,Zambia,Zimbabwe,Kenya and Lesotho.
Some of the objectives of the programme are: Improving wheat productivity and end- use quality through genetic improvement; promoting suitable wheat based systems that safeguard the natural resources while providing resilience; enhancing adoption of cost -effective value chain based on technical, institution and policy options; stabilizing wheat yield through better water/crop /soil management and promoting effective technology transfer pathway options involving all stakeholders.
Other objectives are establishing community platforms for participatory technology validation and dissemination along the value chain and developing diverse and sustainable seed systems with the participation of various stakeholders in target countries.
Under the dissemination of best fit innovations, the SARD-SC project is to develop diverse and sustainable seed systems with the participation of various stakeholders in target countries. It is also to support formal and informal partnerships for seed production and supply, while promoting harmonized policies for efficient variety release and seed production systems.
Under the wheat programme, Innovation platforms serve as a vehicle for generation and dissemination of improved technologies and innovations, and for exchanging experiences and information. A specific emphasis of the project is on training farmers on efficient techniques of wheat growing and production.
Farmer Field Schools (FFS) are also used for hands-on learning of specific wheat crop management techniques. Opportunities for MSc and PhD studies are offered through a scholarship scheme, on a competitive basis to allow talented young agriculturalists to upgrade their knowledge and skills.