The Chinese agricultural technical cooperation assistance project for Togo is a livelihood improvement project under the poverty reduction and agricultural development program, one of the nine major initiatives proposed at the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).
The project has made important contributions to guiding local agricultural production and management, increasing grain yield and carrying out agricultural technology trainings, and has been well received by the Togolese government and people.
Togo's local rice and maize varieties has been used year after year, resulting in serious degradation, mixed varieties, low yield, and poor disease and adversity resistance. The rice and maize yields often stay only around 3 tons per hectare.
After trial and error, the agricultural experts of the project basically figured out the whole technical processes of planting hybrid rice and maize in local areas, with yield also reached the expected target. The hybrid rice and maize seeds provided by China, with large spikes and high yields, are well liked by local farmers.
The project team of agricultural technical cooperation selected high-yielding, high-quality, and disease-resistant rice varieties from China's top scientific research institutions and companies, and introduced them to the Kara region of Togo.
From 2019 to 2022, while overcoming the impact of natural disasters, malaria and COVID-19, the expert team conducted 132 plot variety comparison trials, recommended more than 10 varieties into the production demonstration, and 21 varieties were planted in larger demonstration areas. These efforts broke the history of no rice cultivation in the Kara region during the dry season. Three varieties have been further identified that are more suitable for promotion and cultivation in the vast area of Togo in terms of yield, disease resistance and yield stability.
During the rainy season in 2021, the expert team had a successful demonstration of hybrid maize in Kara with another breakthrough in disease resistance and high yield of 8.25 tons per hectare.
At the time of harvest, the scientific staff of the Kara agricultural institute and the neighboring farmers witnessed the process of yield measurement by the Chinese expert team. The farmers said they hope to plant the hybrid maize seeds from China in the coming year and become demonstration households.
Researchers from the Kara agricultural institute said that Chinese hybrid maize varieties showed high and stable yield, disease resistance and a short reproductive period. The large-scale promotion of the varieties will benefit more farmers, they added.
The project team also carried out advanced technical training courses on rice, corn and agricultural machinery, as well as trainings on rice and corn cultivation techniques and practical operation of agricultural machinery.
They joined the farmers at fields of demonstration sites to carry out training, field operation exercises, answering questions and solving problems on the spot. The courses trained a group of local talents who understand agriculture. More than 800 people were benefiting from these trainings.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Chinese experts remained at work and provided assistance to Togo, ranging from agricultural machinery to high-yield planting techniques, which promoted the increase of Togo's grain yield and created sound conditions for the new development of Togo's agriculture.
All these efforts fully reflect the friendship between China and Togo.