New alliance to boost seed industry in sub-Saharan African countriesPosted on Friday, May 18th, 2012 by Neondo, Henry (Africa Science News, Nairobi) in News
In a bid to boost war against food insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa, the 19 members of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern African Countries, COMESA in partnership with the African Seed Trade Association (AFSTA) on Thursday launched an alliance that would galvanise players in the seed industry.
According to Justine Rakotoarisaona, Secretary General of AFSTA, the Alliance for the Seed Industry in East and Southern Africa (ASIESA) is to develop a viable, competitive and sustainable seed industry that ensures farmers have affordable, timely and reliable access to high quality seeds and planting materials that would boost yields for food security.
Speaking in Nairobi during the launch, Rakotoarisaona said the USAID-funded ASIESA was started out of a felt need by the seed industry for concerted efforts to urgently address the numerous factors impending the growth and expansion of seed business within the region.
The alliance, he said, will develop the seed industry in the region by improving capacity and competitiveness of seed companies to develop new high–yielding seeds and market them to improve agricultural productivity in the sub-Saharan African region.
The alliance also hopes to improve communication with farmers by leveraging various approaches and best practices such as product demonstrations, field days, extension, educational posters, media articles tours and exhibitions to demonstrate the benefits of planting high quality seeds to farmers but also provide them with adequate, accessible and relevant and timely information.
ASIESA has also received initial funding from Croplife International and Sygenta Foundations to help in the project design and setting priorities for the initial eight target countries namely, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Malawi, Madagascar, Zimbabwe and Zambia.