AfricaSeeds and the African Union Commission are now working together to promote food security and transformation of the rural sector in Africa.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed on the 26th July 2016 in Addis Ababa by Kouame Miezan, Executive Director of AfricaSeeds and Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, the Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture of the Commission. It lays the five-year framework of the joint interventions of AfricaSeeds and the Commission to contribute to the development of the seed sector in the continent. “This agreement is being signed in a moment in African history when the promotion of agricultural and rural development is more than ever needed, and food and nutrition security, sustainable development and improved livelihoods for Africans are key priorities”, says Ms. Peace in her final speech.

Stronger institution, stronger impact

It is the Memorandum which would give confidence to all stakeholders that AfricaSeeds serves as a key partner in seed sector development in the continent insofar being recognized as the proactive implementer of the African Union (AU) seed program.

In 2014, AfricaSeeds has been designated as the implementing agency of the African Seed and Biotechnology Programme (ASBP) of the AU. Adopted in 2006, the ASPB needed an institution to lead its implementation. With this Memorandum, AfricaSeeds can fully play its role in steering the efforts to sustainably develop the seed sector, and reporting on progress, constraints and challenges back to the AU.

“It is my hope that this occasion will not only bring about a legal relationship, but also a revitalized awareness of our surrogacy and the fact we act in the supreme interest of Africa” says Kouame Miezan. “After all, it is only through tight and entrusted collaborations with member countries and regional instances that AfricaSeeds can have an impact”.

Valuing the contribution of quality seeds

Activities under this agreement include the advancement of seed security for food security, the promotion of quality seeds and the strengthening of continental capacity to efficiently develop the seed sector.

Specifically, AfricaSeeds will put in place mechanisms to optimize the seed value chain, promote policy advocacy and partnerships with key stakeholders and enhance seed production and marketing in the informal seed sector in Africa.

AfricaSeeds and the Commission will work together so that the contribution of quality seeds can fully disclose its potential to fight against hunger and improve the resilience of rural livelihoods.

Modest but steady progress

Over the past three years, AfricaSeeds has made good progress in spite of the limited resources in place. Along with slowly building up capacity, AfricaSeeds participated to some key gatherings, including the commemoration of the year of Agriculture and Food Security in 2014, when AfricaSeeds collaborated with the African Union Commission to develop a technical paper on agricultural inputs, which was presented to the Honorable Ministers of Agriculture in Africa for consideration and adoption and culminated in the adoption of the Malabo Declaration in June, 2014.

AfricaSeeds also developed its five-year strategic plan thanks to the previous contributions of its Governing Board members. The road ahead is far from easy. However, strengthened by this agreement, the AfricaSeeds team is even more determined to ensure implementation of its continental mandate.