by Peter Mutai
MOMBASA (Xinhua) -- Kenya on Wednesday
urged regional economic blocs to finalize a tripartite agreement
on easing cross border trade in seeds.
principal secretary for agricultural research in the Ministry of
Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation, said that once
the tripartite agreements are finalized, farmers across the
region will have improved access to quality and certified seeds.
"The agreement should ensure that we maintain excellent seed
trade and movement by protecting intellectual property alongside
phytosanitary matters," said Boga at a pan African seed forum in
the coastal city of Mombasa.
He urged the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa,
Southern Africa Development Community and East African Community
to act fast to help meet the continental trade agreement and
food security plan.
Boga said that studies have shown that in cases where
certified seeds are adopted and planted, yields increased by
about one and half times hence leading to poverty reduction and
transformation of livelihoods.
The official said that there is need to improve performance
of the seed sector in the continent, adding that Africa’s share
in the global seed trade is relatively small.
He urged African policymakers to harmonize phytosanitary
measures for seed in order to facilitate their free movement
Boga called for encouraging investment in seed business in
the member states, increasing access to existing varieties in
the countries and stimulating the breeding and availability of
improved seed varieties.
He said that all stakeholders in the seed industry must be
conversant with the harmonized regulations to enhance seed trade
in the regional blocs.
"Seed companies should take advantage of the harmonized seed
regulations to widen and promote competitive and sustainable
markets for crop seeds within their regions," said Boga.
He noted that investments in irrigation is key to boosting
food production amid shocks linked to climate change.
Boga said that farmers should be encouraged to use drought
tolerant and certified seeds in order to attain food security.
African seed firms
revolutionizing outreach to small-holder farmers: study
by Naftali Mwaura NAIROBI (Xinhua)
-- Indigenous seed companies in the
sub-Saharan African region have proved more adept at reaching
out to small-holder farmers when compared to their multinational
peers, says a study launched in Nairobi on Monday.
The Access to Seeds Index 2019 study that covered east and
southern African region revealed that home grown companies
boosted productivity at smallholder level thanks to timely
supply of certified seeds and provision of extension services.
"The index reveals that seed companies are successfully
serving smallholder farmers.
"They stand out because they integrate these small-holders in
their business model," said Sanne Helderman, a senior researcher
with the index study that is supported by Netherlands Government
and Bill & Melinda Foundation.
More than 20 seed companies in east and southern Africa were
evaluated during the survey which focused on critical areas like
governance, transparency, marketing, research and development,
intellectual property and leadership.
Kenyan-based East African Seed Company emerged the top in the
survey followed by Seed Company whose headquarters are in South
Africa thanks to their large network of extension workers
coupled with better understanding of local crops.
"Two African seed companies at the top of the ranking is no
surprise, given their deeper understanding of the region and the
challenges smallholder farmers face," Helderman said.
She urged African governments to rollout policy and
legislative incentives that are key to growth of a vibrant local
seed industry that is responsive to the needs of small-scale
The study revealed that Kenya and South Africa are the
leading hubs of production of high quality seeds thanks to
advanced infrastructure, abundance of skilled labor and a
vibrant agro-processing sector.
Jitu Shah, managing director of East African Seed Company
Limited, said that government-industry linkages are crucial to
increasing production of hybrid seeds and eliminating hunger and
malnutrition affecting small-holder farmers in Africa.
"The private sector can support government funded research on
improved varieties that our small-holder farmers require to
achieve food security and become resilient to climate change,"
He said that state funded breeding programs should in the
near future focus on tubers, vegetables and orphaned crops as
opposed to maize in order to achieve food security and expand
revenue streams for African smallholders.