Paving the Way for Quality Seeds Within ECOWAS-CILSS Countries

A workshop which kicks off today, May 25, 2022, in Lomé, will offer a more fluid and regulated circulation of seeds, in the region of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Permanent Interstates Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS).

The three-day workshop will allow stakeholders to validate the draft of the regional harmonized procedure manual for seed import and export for the ECOWAS-CILSS member States, which was developed by experts during a previous workshop in Ouagadougou, back in December 2021.

CORAF is given the mandate from the Regional Economic Communities, to assume the permanent secretariat of the Regional Seed Committee.

In line with this mandate, CORAF coordinates and ensures the full implementation of the Harmonized Regional Seed Regulation, which promotes the availability, accessibility and circulation of quality seeds in the region.

“To guarantee food security in the ECOWAS-CILSS region and to depend less on external imports, there must be a free circulation of seeds. To achieve this, it is crucial that this circulation is framed by clear and harmonized provisions, and the regional harmonized procedure manual for seed import and export intends to define this framework for a smooth movement of quality seed within the region,” says Dr. Yacouba Diallo, Agricultural Input Development Expert at CORAF.

To illustrate his peer’s remarks, Dr. Hippolyte Affognon, Coordinator of the Partnership for Agricultural Research, Education and Development in West Africa (PAIRED) program, recalls that “during the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, the crisis had seriously jeopardized their agricultural campaigns and food security. Through a regional solidarity, several West African countries were mobilized to supply seeds to these affected countries.”

“Yet, the inconsistent national procedures for the seed movements between the States in the region revealed the importance for a regional harmonized procedure manual to fast-track seeds import and export in the region,” he argued.

The validation workshop of the draft of the Regional Harmonized Procedure Manual for Seed Import and Export, brings together representatives of the private sector and international and intergovernmental organizations, experts from the national seed services, the trade department and national plant protection organizations, and several other stakeholders.

The expected results at the end of the three-day workshop are as follows:

  • The regional harmonized procedure manual for seed import and export in West Africa and in the Sahel, is reviewed and validated;
  • The roadmap with recommendations for the adoption by the Regional Seed and Seedling Committee and the dissemination of the  regional harmonized procedure manual for seed import and export in West Africa and in the Sahel, is developed.

After the validation in Lomé, it is expected that the regional harmonized procedure manual for seed import and export in West Africa and in the Sahel will be examined and definitively adopted, during the seventh statutory meeting of the Regional Seed and Seedling Committee of West Africa (RSSCWA), which will be held in Cotonou from 08 to 10 June 2022.

This manual reinforces and complement the set of regional protocols and implementing regulation that CORAF had already developed and adopted in the region, as part of the implementation of the Harmonized Regional Seed Regulation.

Some of these important protocols are:

  • The executive regulation related to the technical regulation on the modalities of quality control and certification of the seeds in West Africa;
  • The executive regulation organizing the regional catalog of plant species and varieties of West Africa;
  • The national and regional lists of quarantine pests for seeds; and
  • The executive regulation for phytosanitary control and certification to facilitate transboundary seed trade.

The workshop is organized under the third component of PAIRED, which aims at ensuring the availability of quality agricultural inputs in the region.

PAIRED is a five-year program implemented by CORAF and funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

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