ADDIS ABABA-The African Seed Access Index (TASAI) said it is working towards reaching out to Africa with a competitive seed system thereby serving smallholder farmers in the continent.
Speaking at a half-day consultative meeting held yesterday, TASAI Program Coordinator, Mainza Mugoya stated that TASAI has conducted seed industry assessment in African countries and has been using the findings to help policy makers and development agencies create enabling environment that will accelerate the development of competitive formal seed systems aiming at serving smallholder farmers in Africa .
He also said that well-functioning agricultural extension services are critical to the successful promotion and subsequent adoption of improved seed by smallholder farmers.
As far as efforts geared towards overcoming counterfeit seed is concerned, he said TASAI asks seed companies to report their level of satisfaction with government efforts to eliminate counterfeit seed as it is of great damage since it reduces farmers confidence in certified seeds and threatens the success of efforts towards adopting improved varieties.
Presenting the key findings of the study conducted by TASAI in 2021, Ethiopian- Netherlands Seed Partnership Wagering Research Office Project Manager, Mohammed Hussena (PhD), said that an operational seed system needs vibrant public and private breeding programs to develop improved varieties that can positively respond to farmers’ and consumers’ needs.
He also said that the data discrepancy witnessed in government seed companies and concerned ministry departments has to be well bridged as it would result in inconveniencies in due course of finding out the desired outcome.
“Variety release and quality awareness have to be well focused on to help the nations reap the benefits out of the seed industry and get the Ethiopian Seed Association, which comprises 42 members drawn from enterprises, private companies, universities, importers and the like, alert to work more on the area,” Mohammed added.
BY MENGESHA AMARE
THURSDAY 17 FEBRUARY 2022