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FANRPAN launches regional seed project to boost food security
15 March 2010



The Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) has announced a four-year project to help domesticate the SADC HARMONIZED SEED REGULATORY SYSTEM. The project is supported by a US$4,1 million grant from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

Liberalisation of seed trade is set to benefit African smallholder farmers by improving seed availability, access and affordability. On 5 February 2010, the SADC Ministers of Agriculture and Food Security in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the implementation of the SADC Harmonized Seed Regulatory System. The system aims at improving seed trade and increasing the availability of high quality seed to farmers in the region. The Harmonised Seed Regulatory System will facilitate easier movement of seed between SADC countries and will make more varieties of seed available throughout the region. It will also integrate small isolated national seed markets into one large SADC market. This system has been developed through a consultative process and represents a direct response of the Member States to the low availability and limited access by farmers in the Region, to key agricultural inputs. Special attention in this regard is on small scale farmers who have limited resources and face challenges in sourcing seed of high quality.

The overall objective of the project is to contribute to improved food security and poverty reduction through increased seed security and better disaster preparedness in the SADC region. The project will focus more on country level implementation. FANRPAN will leverage on its partnerships and scale up the project region-wide (SADC, COMESA and EAC) and continent-wide through the African Union-NEPAD.

FANRPAN is piloting the second phase of this project in four countries - Malawi, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The project was launched on 24 February 2010 in Pretoria, South Africa. Present at the launch were the 13 FANRPAN Node representatives and FANRPAN project coordinators; the Embassy of Switzerland Deputy Ambassador, H.E. Eric Amhof; COMESA Secretary-General and FANRPAN Board Chairman, Mr Sindiso Ngwenya and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation Deputy Country Director, Richard Chenevard and Regional Programme Manager: Food Security Samuel Kareithi.

On 2 March 2010, FANRPAN Malawi launched the project in Lilongwe in a high profile event where the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Mrs Margaret Mauwa, M.P., was represented by Dr Andrew Daudi, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Malawi. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation South Africa was represented by the Resident Director, Francois Droz; Deputy South Africa Country Director, Richard Chenevard and Regional Programme Manager: Food Security Dr Samuel Kareithi. FANRPAN was represented by Dr Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, CEO and Dr David B Kamchacha, Director: Agriculture Inputs and Outputs Market. Also present were Farmer Organisations; COMESA represented by Dr Angel Daka, Food Security Adviser, Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa (ACTESA); Private Sector, Regional Organisations and Government.

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