Strengthening seed systems in Afghanistan

April 22, 2012 at 5:17 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Meeting on National Seed Policy, Kabul, Afghanistan, 6-7 March

Wheat seed produced by a village-based cooperative, established with ICARDA support, now profitable and financially independent

Wheat seed produced by a village-based cooperative, established with ICARDA support, now profitable and financially independent

Afghanistan’s Ministry of Agriculture is working with ICARDA and other partners to strengthen seed production and accelerate the dissemination of new crop varieties. The Seed Policy meeting discussed revisions to the current policy (formulated in 2005). It brought together experts from the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock, FAO, the World Bank, UNDP, ICARDA, CIMMYT, the Afghanistan National Seed Organization and many other organizations. Key issues included: making the seed sector less dependent on government subsidies or donor funding; variety development and evaluation; marketing and extension linkages; quality control; industry associations; ownership and protection of varieties; import and export regulations; emergency seed supply; and the informal seed sector.

ICARDA has played a key role in seed systems development in Afghanistan, helping to draft a ‘Code of Conduct’ for international development agencies, and the country’s first Seed Law, and establish a network of village-based seed cooperatives. Despite considerable progress, domestic formal-sector seed production falls far short of demand. Clearly, much more needs to be done – but with a broad range of partners pledging support, the future looks encouraging.

 

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