AfricaSeeds and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) worked together to deliver long-awaited training material on seed sector operations.
The manual, designed to educate actors along the seed value chain, promotes quality seed for agriculture transformation.
The use of quality seeds and planting material is key to support agriculture production, food security and resilience. This is particularly true in Africa, where sub-optimal seed value chains prevent farmers from accessing quality seeds of adapted varieties at the right time for planting.
“The mandate of AfricaSeeds as Implementer of the African Union seed program, i.e. the African Seed and Biotechnology Program (ASBP), enjoins us to support a sustainable development of the seed sector on the continent”, says AfricaSeeds’ Executive Director, Dr Kouame Miezan. “One way to achieve this is through the development of capacities of all parties.”
This is why AfricaSeeds started a collaboration with FAO and developed the Seeds Toolkit, a six-volume manual in three languages, including English and French, designed to support stakeholders of the seed sector.
According to the FAO, the “…Seeds Toolkit supports practitioners along the entire seed value chain to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to deliver quality seeds and planting materials of farmer-preferred crop varieties timely and at reasonable prices. The Toolkit is designed primarily for capacity-building activities, targeting especially small-scale farmers and small- and medium-scale entrepreneurs”.
Two validation workshops on the draft modules were organized by AfricaSeeds in 2016 and 2017 in Abidjan. Overall, 30+ African countries were represented. During the workshops, presentations and discussions were held in French and English. Feedback was gathered on the training material, and participants’ capacities were strengthened. The validation process has been essential to improve the user experience and ensure location-appropriate content of the Manual.
The six interrelated modules of the manual tackle all steps of the seed value chain:
- Module 1: The development of small-scale seed enterprises;
- Module 2: Seeds processing: principles, equipment and practice;
- Module 3: Seed quality assurance;
- Module 4: Seed sector regulatory framework;
- Module 5: The marketing of seeds;
- Module 6: The storage of seeds.
This will contribute to enhanced seed value chains. With the acquired knowledge and skills, seed sector stakeholders are more confident in playing their role for a timely delivery of quality seeds and planting material in the hands of farmers of Africa.
As part of its mandate, AfricaSeeds ensures the Seeds Toolkit is widely disseminated and used. It liaises with national and regional seed programs to promote and support capacity building through training workshops or sessions using the Manual. This will have a trickle-down effect on the capacities of stakeholders at all levels.
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