Production and increased use of qualityseeds in West Africa: CORAF / WECARD launches WASC and ASIWA through WASP

The West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF / WECARD) throughits West AfricaSeed Program (WASP) officiallylaunched the RegionalSeedCommittee (WASC & CRSU) and the Alliance for the SeedIndustry in West Africa (ASIWA) this August 3, 2015 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

The Regional Seed Committee is in charge of assisting the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and The West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) Commissions and the Executive Secretariat of the Permanent Interstates Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS) in the implementation of the Harmonized Regional Seed Regulation.

This committee is composed of the presidents of the National Seed Committees (CNS) and Heads of National Seed Services (NSS) from 17 countries: BENIN, BURKINA FASO, CABO VERDE, COTE D’IVOIRE, THE GAMBIA, GHANA, GUINEA, GUINEA BISSAU, LIBERIA, MALI, MAURITANIA, NIGER, NIGERIA, SENEGAL, SIERRA LEONE, CHAD and TOGO. A total of 31 members.

Now operational, the Alliance for the Seed Industry in West Africa (ASIWA) is an effective and sustainable platform, inclusive and effective for the development of production, supply and use of quality seed West Africa. The joint participation of private sector companies, national and regional governmental agencies and development actors ensures that ASIWA integrates the specific needs, objectives and resources of each stakeholder’s group members and establish an appropriate programming that actually led to the development of the private seed sector in West Africa.

The two initiatives converge for the implementation of the ECOWAS-CILSS-UEMOA Regional Harmonized Seed Regulation in order to increase the production of quality seeds increased, to facilitate the seed marketing within the sub-region, to increase farmer access to quality seeds, to create a favorable policy environment for the emergence of the private seed sector, and to strengthen the public-private partnership in the delivery of quality seeds. During the launchingceremony, Dr Alioune FALL Chairman of the Board of CORAF / WECARD sharedwith the participants, the main achievements and results of the implementation of the instituition’sseedpolicy.

Satisfied with the results of CORAF / WECARD, its technical branch of ECOWAS is optimistic about the fact that the implementation of COASem and ASIWA “will help fill the gap between demand and supply and provide essential support for agricultural policies for a prosperous and secured region regarding seed and food ” according to Alain TraoreSy, Director of Agriculture and Rural Development at ECOWAS.

SiakaCoulibalyMinayaha, Chief of staff pf the Ministry of Agriculture of Côte d’Ivoire, the host country of the conference of the two initiatives, congratulated CORAF / WECARD for its commitment to the transformation of agriculture in the subregion before recalling the efforts of his country in the implementation of the Harmonized Regional Seed Regulation.

In this context, Permanent Interstate Committee for drought control in the Sahel (CILSS) reaffirmed its commitment to support west african producers and farmers for better food and nutrition security. “ASIWA offers a privileged space for dialogue with the COASem in seed management at national and regional level. Given the quality of its members, we have no doubt about the success of his actions, “said Dr. Antoine SOME, General Director of the Institute of the Sahel (INSAH-CILSS).

For Dr. AlexandreDeprez, Director of the USAID- Western Africa Mission, COASem and ASIWA will enable the production and the dissemination throughout the West African region of quality seed. “It isnow possible to increase yields and producers can therefore contribute to mitigating the effects of climate change and parents can better feed their children,” he said at the launching ceremony.

Furthermore, the African Seed Trade Association and the Network of farmers and producers’ Organizations in West Africa (ROPPA) expressed their gratitude and congratulations to ECOWAS, UEMOA and CORAF for their constant efforts to create a strong seed industry. ”AFSTA remains convinced that the implementation of these initiatives mark a turning point in the promotion of a sustainable agriculture can unearth the African continent from its marginality and finally offer to African farmers quality seeds” has pointed AmadouSarr, President of AFSTA – West Africa.

Convinced that certified seed produced by national and regional actors in a climate of cooperation and exchange, in alignment with UEMOA and ECOWAS policies and strategies , with the support and guidance of the two institutions are, for our agriculture, our nutrition, our environment, a guarantee of sovereignty and sustainability ” said Djibo BAGNA, Chairman of the Board of Directors of ROPPA.

The launchof these tworegional platformstook placeon the sidelinesof the First Statutory Meeting COASem and stakeholder convergence Internationa lWorkshop for the establishment of ASIWA which were held from August 3 to 4 respectively o f5 to 6 August 2015.

Have participated to this meeting, the seed industry representatives from the private sector, seed producers organizations, regional organization of producers and representatives of international organizations in the seed sector (ICRISAT, IITA, WARDA, FAO, AGRA, IFDC, Syngenta Foundation) as well as key resource persons and partner organizations (USAID / WA, European Union, World Bank, AfDB, ISU, NARS, Universities, WAAPP, FARA).