CORAF, FAO Strengthen Mauritanian Seed System

CORAF and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have teamed up to improve the seed system in Mauritania. At the invitation of the Mauritanian government, experts of the two regional institutions are training seed experts of the Ministry of agriculture and seed multipliers on control and certification techniques. The training is held in Kaédi, a town located about 430 km south of the capital, Nouakchott.

“This training is designed to help the Mauritanian technicians acquire the required skills to produce and deliver quality seeds to end-users,” says Dr. Hippolyte Affognon, Manager of the Partnership for Agricultural Research, Education and Development in West Africa Program (PAIRED). PAIRED is a five-year quality seed provision intervention implemented by CORAF and funded by USAID.

The four-day training targeting seed experts of the Ministry of Agriculture aims at improving their capacities in seed control and certification. Both techniques are a major prerequisite for a competitive and robust seed industry. In addition, Mauritania aims to reduce seed imports and to spur local production and agriculture productivity.

“Despite the myriad of seed companies in the country, Mauritania remains heavily dependent on seed imports. The lack of technical skills of private sector actors to produce sufficient quality seeds and the unsuitable policy and regulatory environment are some of the reasons for the low production of quality seeds in Mauritania,” says Dr. Yacouba Diallo, an agri-input expert at CORAF.

An Underperforming Mauritanian Seed Sector 

Mauritanian agriculture is characterized, among other things, by the low use of certified seeds. To help tackle this pressing challenge, the Mauritanian government reached out to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to help train its cadre to produce better seeds. The FAO then invited CORAF to help lead the training based on its broad experience in seed development across West and Central Africa.

The first part of the mission consisted of a diagnosis of the main constraints of Mauritania’s seed production and certification system, along with recommendations. The second part consisted of building the technical capacities of national actors (private sector, agents of state, and technical services, etc.).

“Seed-related regulations are not known and are not implemented by the major players in the sector. Also, there are technical, logistical and organizational gaps at the level of private seed companies which ensure the production and distribution of seeds,” added Dr. Diallo.

This training is expected to be followed by another workshop on quality seed production techniques for seed multipliers.