West Africa Seed Committee Takes Measures to Strengthen Seed Sector 

In late June 2021, members of the West African Regional Seed and Seedling Committee (WARSSC) met in the Guinean capital of Conakry to review the state of the seed sector in the region. 

At the heart of this sixth statutory meeting was examining the state of implementation of the recommendations of their previous gathering (5th statutory meeting) held in Abuja, Nigeria, in 2019. On the agenda was also the consideration of the progress made in the implementation of the harmonized regional regulation of seeds and seedlings and formulating new recommendations to strengthen the seed industry in the sub-region.

A strong seed industry guarantees good agricultural productivity, good nutrition and a substantial level of income for producers. This is why we rigorously monitor the harmonious implementation of harmonized regional regulation.”

Dr. Hippolyte Affognon, Manager of the Partnership for Agricultural Research, Education, and Development in West Africa (PAIRED), a USAID-funded project implemented by CORAF.

The committee recommended several strategic interventions to accelerate the seed regulation implementation process at the national and regional levels:

1.    Strengthen the mobilization of political decision-makers at national and regional levels to include seeds on the national and regional agenda. This implies a number of actions to effectively implement legal texts and create a conducive environment for private sector development, in particular through sustainable funding of interventions, human resources, infrastructure, and equipment;

2.    Mobilize the private sector by putting in place bold public policy measures that secure and facilitate its intervention and ensure recognition of its role in the production of staple seeds, quality control, and certification;

3.    Strengthen the dissemination of information and communication between stakeholders in the seed value chain, for the large-scale internalization of legal texts, the dissemination and use of the catalog of plant species and varieties and national and regional lists of seed quarantine pests;

4.    Strengthen CORAF’s cooperation with other partners working in the seed sector, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in order to better pool resources and skills at the service of countries and the private sector;

5.    Strengthen the support of intergovernmental organizations —Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS)— in the effective implementation of the harmonized regional seed regulations;

6.    Proceed to capacity building in the Member States (human resources, control infrastructures, seed storage, etc.);

7. Strengthen national agricultural research structures and involve the private sector for the production of first generation seeds.

It was the first time that Guinea was hosting the statutory meeting. 

“I am completely satisfied with the results you have achieved,” rejoiced the Secretary-General at the Guinean Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, Mr. Mamadi CONDÉ. 

Two New Instruments Adopted

Two vital documents for the development of the seed sector were also approved during the meeting. This includes the 2020 Regional Catalogue of Varieties and Plant Species and the Regional executive regulation for phytosanitary control and certification of seed and seedling.

The regional catalog has more than 200 improved varieties of seeds and seedlings that meet the needs of populations. As for the regulation for phytosanitary control, it will guarantee the quality of the seeds which are exchanged between the member States.

The adoption of these important documents is a big step forward for the seed industry in the sub-region. These add to the list of other measures that are already available and which aim to create favorable conditions for the emergence of strong seed industry.”

Dr. Yacouba Diallo, Seed Expert at CORAF.

CORAF organizes on an annual basis and on behalf of the ECOWAS Commission the statutory meeting of WARSSC. It brings together representatives of the national seed committees of the seventeen member States of ECOWAS—UEMOA—CILSS zone as well as the main regional actors (private and public) of the seed sector.

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