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Tanzania ISSD Africa National Seminar

Access to improved quality seeds by smallholder farmers has a great bearing on the efficiency of other inputs such as fertilizer, agro-chemicals, irrigation, and labor. Addressing an ISSDAfrica National Seminar in Dar es Salaam on February 10th 2016, Mr. Canuth Komba, who made the opening remarks on behalf of the Assistant Director of Agricultural Inputs in the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, noted the importance of the seed sector, emphasizing that availability of quality seed is a top priority for Tanzania’s agricultural sector, the region and development partners as a whole.

He reiterated that adequate availability of quality seed, supplied timely and with affordable prices and at the right time and place is very critical in agricultural development, and vouched for stronger public-private partnerships to overcome the challenges in the seed sector. In addition, he reiterated that the Tanzanian Government was committed to providing an enabling environment for the growth of seed sector trade, and supported the on-going review of the existing Acts and Regulations and the regional harmonization of seed regulations.

The National Seminar, which was organized to present and discuss the synthesized findings of ISSD Africa's Action Learning Projects (ALPs) and case studies of the ISSD Africa Piloting Phase, brought together about 30 seed stakeholders drawn from the public and private sector. Introducing the seminar, the Tanzania ISSD Africa Country Focal Point, Mr. Raphael Laizer, emphasized the significance of quality seed as a key input to improved farm productivity, food security, and economic development. Presentations and discussions were organized around two ISSDAfrica themes, namely, ‘Promoting Seed Entrepreneurship’ and ‘Access to Varieties in the Public Domain’.

In order to establish an enabling environment for the expansion of seed trade and address the challenges to promotion of seed entrepreneurship, a number of recommendations were made at the seminar. First, there should be stronger support for decision makers and implementers of the seed sector interventions to facilitate seed entrepreneurship in different seed systems. Furthermore, there is need to encourage the creation of stronger seed producer associations to enable growth of seed business;Also, there is need to support ongoing efforts on strengthening seed quality control mechanisms in different seed systems and a stronger support for the review of seeds policies and regulations. Similarly, there should be efforts to establish a National Effective Seed Demand to guide stakeholders in planning and making suitable seed businesses.

To address the challenges to access to seed in the public domain, it was noted that smallholder farmers’ benefit by increasing their choices of preferred varieties in the market as well as from the breeding programs, As a result, seed production and use should be market-driven.

Key suggestions to consdier as challenges include supporting the access to information and varieties, enhancing farming community’s involvement in breeding programs at early stages, encouraging active participation of private sector in the production of pre-basic and basic seeds, supporting the establishment of stakeholder’s innovation platforms on varieties, and enhancing the review of specific agreements to improve access to varieties in the public domain.

A clear future role for ISSDAfrica includes support and facilitation for access to credit facilities for seed multipliers, improvement of regional policy on seed multiplication and trade to allow for a wider coverage; regulation of seed trade, Climate change mitigation, and developing centers for generating information on statistics to show number of activities and seed demand by farmers to mention just but a few. In addition, ISSD Africa cancan support the enactment of favorable policies, and strong research and extension systems. 

Raphael Laizer: ISSDAfrica Tanzania Focal Point

Read the full National Seminar Report on the right of this page