Limited timely access by farmers to affordable and preferred variety quality seeds remains one of the leading cause of poor agricultural performance in Africa. Seeds are key agricultural inputs for African countries, and national seed policies need to consider how to influence seed systems towards better delivery for farmers.
National seed policies have the potential for making dramatic impacts on the growth of national seed programs. However, most national seed policies in Africa are either inadequate to the changing dynamics on the ground or act as a disincentive to further seed sector development. In some cases, countries have national policies in place but lack implementation processes.
AfricaSeeds’ strategy calls for assisting African countries to develop, update or adopt their national seed policies. It recognizes the need for strengthened capacity to implement and deliver results, and for an enhanced operational environment (policies, and policies and institutional changes) to support the implementation of national seed policies. Likewise, it stresses the importance of specific strategies to enhance public-private partnerships in key components of the seed value chain. It also advocates for the inclusion of issues of the outbreak of the pandemic, gender, youth, smallholder seed production, agrobiodiversity and the environment in developing policy plans.
As a first step towards a sizeable promotion of national seed policies, AfricaSeeds will not develop individual national seed policies, but rather, it will train national experts to develop their own skills to formulating, assessing, reviewing and monitoring national seed policies themselves.
Through regional workshops, AfricaSeeds aims at ensuring that seed officers are more knowledgeable on the process of formulation, adoption, and implementation of national seed policies, as well as evaluation and periodic updating. The workshops are meant to allow countries sharing related agroecologies and contexts to benefit from commonalities of instructions.
Because of its mandate and experience, AfricaSeeds is well-placed to support governments in developing and implementing their national policies.
As part of this supportand at the request of countries, AfricaSeeds carries out background studies to determine overall capacities in national seed policies.