The harvest is in the seed

Obituary: Josiah Wobil, Renowned Seed Policy Expert and Visionary Leader

It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Josiah Wobil in Accra on the 18th of May, 2023, a distinguished seed policy expert who dedicated over four decades to leading transformative interventions in the seed sector across Africa, Europe, Asia, the Caribbean and Central America. Mr Wobil’s remarkable contributions to the seed industry particularly in the areas of seed policy development, institutional capacity building, and regulatory interventions have left an indelible mark on the agricultural landscape, impacting the lives of countless farmers and communities.

Born on the 9th of April, 1942, in Ghana, Josiah Wobil possessed an unwavering passion for agriculture from an early age. He embarked on his educational journey at the prestigious University of Ghana, where he obtained his Bachelor of Agricultural Science degree. He further honed his expertise at Montana State University in the United States, earning a Master of Science degree in seed technology.

Mr Wobil’s illustrious career unfolded as he joined the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), where he served as a professional staff member and later as a retiree-consultant. His wealth of experience and technical acumen propelled him to the forefront of seed policy and certification systems development. Throughout his career, he spearheaded the formulation and adoption of national seed policies, provided invaluable guidance in crop variety development, registration, and release, and facilitated the establishment of seed processing facilities across Africa.

His far-reaching influence extended beyond his work with the FAO. Josiah Wobil undertook consultancy assignments for international organizations such as AfricaRice, the World Bank, USAID, AGRA, ISSD and IFDC. Recognizing his expertise, he was appointed Chairman of The National Seed Council of Ghana, where his visionary leadership transformed the seed sector and positioned Ghana as a beacon of agricultural innovation.

Among his many achievements, Mr Wobil played a pivotal role in the formulation of the African Union’s Seed and Biotechnology Program (ASBP), a comprehensive initiative aimed at enhancing agricultural productivity and food security across the continent. His commitment to regional integration was also evident in his collaboration with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to establish Community Foundation Seed Farms serving member states.

His contribution to the establishment and expansion of AfricaSeeds as the African seed sector development organization has been crucial. Working together, we have all as colleagues greatly benefited from his expertise, wisdom, and diplomacy in making significant strides forward, largely led by his interventions. He has been instrumental and a strong pillar in all AfricaSeeds does and stands for.

Josiah Wobil’s dedication to sharing his extensive knowledge with others was exemplified by his numerous publications on seed sector development, which became essential resources at national, regional, and continental levels. His expertise earned him the admiration and respect of colleagues and peers alike.

Beyond his professional achievements, Mr Wobil was a loving family man, cherished friend and respected mentor. He touched the lives of many with his warm smile, generous spirit, and unwavering commitment to making a difference in the world.

Josiah Wobil’s legacy as a seed expert and visionary leader will continue to inspire generations to come. He leaves behind a profound void in the seed sector community, but his contributions will forever serve as a guiding light for those who follow in his footsteps.

We extend our heartfelt condolences to Mr Wobil’s wife, family, friends, colleagues, and all those whose lives he touched. May his soul find eternal peace, and may his legacy be forever remembered and celebrated.

AfricaSeeds: African Seed Sector Development Organization

AfricaSeeds is the African Seed Sector Development Organization. From 2010 to 2020, AfricaSeeds has championed the cause of ASBP as the implementer of the African Union seed program, the African Seed and Biotechnology Programme (ASBP).

The aim of the Agency is to promote, in collaboration/partnership with other stakeholders, the development of efficient, dynamic and sustainable integrated seed systems and a profitable seed industry in Africa in order to secure availability and access of quality seeds for African farmers to contribute to agricultural transformation, food and nutrition security and poverty reduction in Africa.

Through an integrated and effective approach to collaboration with all seed sector stakeholders, AfricaSeeds addresses the needs for seed sector development in line with the 2063 African Union Agenda on inclusive and sustainable development. It also contributes to the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Program (CAADP), the Malabo Declaration and the Addis-Ababa Comuniqué on Early Generation Seeds.

From the Executive Director

November 2022, Dakar: visit of the AfricaSeeds team to the CORAF Headquarters

On his mission to stregthen partnership formation in the seed sector of Africa, a team composed by the AfricaSeeds Executive IDrector Kwame Miezan, and his Gender Expert, Emilienne Guei visited CORAF Heardquarters in Dakar.

In his presentation to the representatives of CORAF, Dr Miezan stressed the importance of creating an enabling environment for the creation and maintenance of fruitful collaboration among seed sector stakeholders across Africa.
This visit has been an important occasion for the two institutions to know each other better and to build on their respective experience in order to generate actions for a more inclusive and sustainable seed sector on the continent.

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