Regional Committee Meet on Harmonisation of Seed Regulations to Certified Seeds in West Africa

Between August 29 and 30, 2016, CORAF/WECARD delegation for the second ordinary meeting of the Regional Unique Committee of Seeds for ECOWAS-UEMOA-CILSS (COASem & CRSU) from 17 ECOWAS countries were hosted by the Institute du Sahel (INSAH/CILSS) in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture, Bamako, Mali.

The purpose of the gathering was for  the members of the sub regional steering committee to assess the status of implementation on harmonized regional seed regulations at national level  based on the recommendations of the first ordinary meeting held in 2015 in Côte d’Ivoire.  To effectively, support the implementation of this regulation, the ECOWAS Commission mandated CORAF/WECARD, its technical arm, through the West Africa Seed programme (PSAO/WASP) for the establishment of National Seed Committees and vibrant West African Seed Committee Secretariat for a transitional period of 5 years. Emerging evidence shows that the regional committee on seeds is beginning to reach its goal of assisting ECOWAS countries in the implementation of harmonized regional seed regulation.

Indeed, the task of COASem is to facilitate the implementation of harmonized regional seed regulation which aims to create appropriate conditions to the emergence of a strong seed industry to ensure a steady supply of improved seeds in sufficient quantity in the seventeen countries of the sub-regional.  Before the implementation of this regulation, several legal texts existed within the same region which not only a source of wastage of resources but inefficiency and contradictory

A strong and vibrant seed industry is an entry point to real agricultural transformation in West Africa  as farmers are dependent on access to improved seeds to increase productivity.

The interest of this regulation is to get a harmonized regional and strong seed industry   to overcome the challenges of unfavourable political, administrative and regulatory constraints on the availability of standard quality and certified seeds of improved varieties and private investment in the sector.

According to Dr Ernest Asiedu, Chief of Party of WASP in CORAF/WECARD, between 2012 and 2016, 13 countries of the 17 countries in the ECOWAS-UEMOA-CILSS has published the community seed regulations in their Official Gazette and making it the national seed law. We also noted the exponential increase in the production and supply of breeder seeds from genetic materials adapted to the climate. It is worthy to note that policy reform on seed in some countries is generating revenue to government through seed actors registration. He further said that in pursuit of the laudable WASIX project, CORAF/WECARD launched the electronic online platform since June, 2015 which is now operational in seven countries of Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Cote d’ Ivoire and Nigeria  as well as trained seed specialist on website administration. By ensuring proper application of the regulation as in the European Union, we help farmers improve their seeds and double or even triple their crops yield as well as  improve their living conditions.

Building on the harmonized regional seed regulations, CORAF/WECARD has accelerated the post-ebola rehabilitation in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea by conveying more than 10,000 tons in the context of agricultural rehabilitation programs. Through this effort, CORAF/WECARD has helped to prevent the specter of hunger for more than 2 million farm families, through a seed multiplication program.