A seed sector stakeholder meeting was held in Bamako on 31st May and 1st of June, 2018, to give a new impulse to sustainable seed systems development in Mali. Jointly organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and AfricaSeeds as a direct follow-up of the agreement signed by the two parties, the meeting aimed at reinvigorating the efforts of seed sector actors.

The two-day workshop gathered 30+ representatives of various organizations, from public institutions, private bodies, seed stakeholders, seed producers and farmers’ organizations and NGOs, and was opened by Minstry of Agriculture Dr Nango Diabate.

“Quality seeds are the foundation for improving agriculture production” said Director of the Agricultural Department of the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Oumar Maiga. “In our country, where only 35 percent of farmers use quality seeds, we need to increase our efforts in sustainable seed production and utilization”.

A workshop focused on solutions

After a brief description of the current challenges faced by the seed sector, key players – such as the National Seed Service, the Institut d’Economie Rurale, farmers’ organizations and seed associations – brought their experience to the table to help craft new practical solutions.

Participants were eager to reinforce the importance of developing and maintaining partnerships, noting that the many projects implemented to date have lacked an overall coordination. And more and more the private sector is becoming part of the solution, participants stressed.

To go beyond the usual demarcation between formal and informal systems, the attendees took the time to discuss in detail the scope of community seed production in Mali, and the role it should play in overall seed sector development.

The participants also agree on the importance of creating an enabling environment. Solutions alluded to the effective implementation of the Regional Harmonized Seed Regulation (ECOWAS-UEMOA-CILSS), an updated national seed policy and the development of a seed stakeholder platform.

At the end of the workshop, discussed solutions have been captured in a logframe whereby all constraints were attributed a project idea.

The way forward

AfricaSeeds is supporting seed sector development in Mali by helping the national seed program play its role as facilitator and coordinator of development efforts. It is also active in monitoring results and creating opportunities for stakeholders to exchange experiences with other countries.

Looking ahead at the Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods, AfricaSeeds’ Executive Director stressed that the time has come to transform project ideas into action, and that Mali has great potential to make a difference.