The meeting was organized in two days (13th to 14th September 2012) in Hotel Belle Cote in Abidjan, Ivory Coast for WASP Stakeholder Consultative and Launching.In all 60 participants attended the workshop, representing stakeholders from the following organizations: Regional Economic Communities – ECOWAS, UEMOA’ Financial Partner – USAID; CORAF/WECARD, NARIs; CGIAR – IITA, AfricaRice and ICRISAT; Inter-Governmental Organization – CILSS; NGOs (Hub Rural, RECAO, AFFEX, AGRA, West Africa Fertilizer Program); FBOs – ROPPA; Universities – University of Ghana/WACCI; National Seed Industry – National Seed Committees, National Seed Certification Agencies, Ministers of Agriculture – Representatives from Senegal and Cote D’Ivoire) and the Private Sector – AFSTA, NSTAs, Seed Companies and Enterprises.
The workshop opening was marked by five addresses, which pointed to the importance of improved seeds in the improvement of crop productivity in the sub-region. The Executive Director of CORAF/WECARD (Dr. Harold Roy Macauley) expressed his gratitude to the dignitaries and participants who represented their organization for responding vigorously to the invitation to the workshop. He informed the house of the funds approved by the USAID to support the implementation of the ECOWAS seed regulations in improving the seed supply system and stressed the need for the numerous seed initiatives to work in creating synergies and complementarily through an alliance. He added that the program involves seven countries but will work with the 15 ECOWAS countries in the implementation of the seed regulatory framework and in sharing experiences and concluded that the workshop will provide a roadmap to facilitate program implementation.
- The five program results were then presented as follows:
(1) An operational and inclusive Alliance for Seed Industry in West Africa (ASIWA) established. The presentation highlighted on the complexity of the seed system and importance of an alliance to compliment the functions, create synergies and pooling resources. Activities for the operation of the alliance were presented as (i) building an effective alliance; (ii) using the alliance for dialoguing and sharing information in developing the seed industry (iii) developing partnership arrangements to commit, (iv) developing governance, coordination and communication tools, (v) functioning of COASem for sustainability of the Alliance, (vi) support the operations ASIWA and (vii) developing database of actors and outputs.
(2) Implementation of national and regional seed policies and regulations enhanced. The presentation pointed out the modest achievement made in the implementation the sub-regional seed regulatory framework in certain countries during the period of WASA, the challenges, and the task in implementing the framework in the remaining ECOWAS countries. Activities were presented as follows: (i) building capacities for implementing the ECOWAS Seed Regulation, (ii) operationalizing the regional variety release system, (iii) establishing a seed import/export database system with a regional quarantine pest list (all countries), and (iv) establishing and operating the COASem and its Secretariat to support variety cataloguing.
(3) Quality breeder, foundation, and certified seeds produced and used. This dwelt on the challenge of research organizations in the supply of the adequate quantities of good quality breeder seeds which has affected the production and supply of good quality foundation and certified seeds. The rank of quality seeds as the most important concern of farmers and the advantages of quality seeds were demonstrated. Activities to be implemented to improve the supply of quality breeder seeds were presented as: (i) support the NARS Seed Units to produce breeder seeds at the required quantities and standards, (ii) assist NARS in planning the volume of breeder seed required to meet demand of foundation and certified seeds, (iii) identify and provide basic infrastructure to produce BS, and (iv) create awareness of the benefit of IPR and train plant breeders on IPR issues.
(4) Private sector participation in the seed industry enhanced. Increased participation of privates sector in the seed value chain, including operational organs and governance and technical and commercial activities were highlighted. Activities were: (i) increasing expertise in foundation & certified seed production, (ii) support the participation of NSTAs in National Seed Committee & VR committee, and (iii) facilitate private sector involvement in the segments of the seed value chain.
(5) Capacities of National Seed Trade Associations strengthened (Agri-Business Development and Rural Seed Marketing)