Harmonizing Regional Procedures for Seeds Import & Export 

  • Agricultural sector experts from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS) will meet in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso to develop a harmonized procedures manual for seeds import and export in the region;
  • In line with its mandate as the permanent secretariat of the Regional Seed Committee, CORAF has developed several documents and procedures to support the implementation of the harmonized regional seed regulation;
  • The harmonized procedures manual for seeds import and export will complement other tools that aim to support and foster the full implementation of the regional regulation and cooperation between the States for a strong seed industry.

CORAF is convening experts from the agricultural sector and other stakeholders from member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS) in the capital of Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou, from December 13 to 17, 2021, to develop a harmonized procedures manual for seeds import and export in the region.

The technical workshop will allow the experts to reflect on ways to standardize procedures to foster trade and streamline the flow of seeds between the countries of the ECOWAS/CILSS space.

“The harmonization of procedures and transboundary cooperation are essential components to ensuring good access to quality inputs. This guarantees better productivity, food and nutrition security, and better incomes for farmers,” said Dr. Yacouba Diallo, an Agri-Inputs Expert at CORAF.

“The harmonized procedures manual for seeds import and export will provide a unique reference document for the entire West African community, to secure and accelerate the procedures and operations related to seeds import and export in the region.”

Within the framework of the Partnership for Agricultural Research, Education and Development in West Africa (PAIRED) and in line with the mandate given to it by the Regional Economic Communities as the permanent secretariat of the Regional Seed Committee, CORAF supports the countries of the ECOWAS/CILSS region and coordinates and monitors the implementation of the harmonized regional seed regulation.

Under the leadership of CORAF, four key documents have already been developed and adopted in the countries to support and foster the full implementation of the harmonized regulation. These are:

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

The manual to be developed in Ouagadougou would complement and strengthen these tools. It seeks to promote an adequate framework for the emergence of a strong seed industry in the region.

“A strong seed industry constitutes the backbone of agriculture and that is what the harmonized regional regulation intends to establish within the region,” declares Dr. Hippolyte Affognon, Coordinator of PAIRED.

The development and implementation of the harmonized regulation on seeds fall under the third component of PAIRED, which aims to ensure the availability of quality agri-inputs. The West Africa office of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funds the PAIRED program and CORAF is implementing it.

The harmonized procedures manual for the seeds import and export is expected to be completed in the first quarter of the fiscal year 2022.

Two outcomes are expected from the Ouagadougou workshop: 

  • The first draft of the harmonized procedures manual for seeds import and export;
  • A roadmap with recommendations for its adoption and dissemination.

In addition to ECOWAS and CILSS, CORAF is organizing the Ouagadougou technical workshop in collaboration with the West African Economic and Monetary Union.

Participants would be representatives of international and intergovernmental organizations, development partners, the private sector, regional producer organizations, national seed committees and services, and representatives of trade departments of member States.

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