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Monday, 28 May 2018 14:41

Seed industry is essential to high productivity

Written by  Tione Andsen
Mwanamvekha shows off the National Seed Policy - Pic by Roy Nkosi Mwanamvekha shows off the National Seed Policy - Pic by Roy Nkosi

Lilongwe, May 28, 2018: Government has said the development of seed industry is essential to farmers in providing quality seed which can boost productivity in the agricultural sector in the country.

Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Joseph Mwanamvekha   said this Monday during the launch of National Seed Policy at Bingu international Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe,

 He pointed out that the seed sector plays a vital role in shaping the development of the agriculture sector hence the need to be giving the much needed support.

Mwanamvekha explained that the launch of the seed policy would help to harmonize the industry and align with Southern Development Committee (SADC) and Common Market for Southern Africa COMESA) seed protocol within the regional blocks.

“The Ministry necessitated the 1993 seed policy review in order to address the emerging challenges the sector is facing and to be in line with the regional blocks on how to move forward in improving the seed industry,” the Minister pointed out.

He added that the review of the policy revealed a number of gaps considering the various developments that have taken place in the seed industry since the policy came into effect,

“Amongst the many gaps the previous policy had was the absence of the definition of the term “seed” in it. Omission of the definition of seed in the policy limited the scope of commodities that fell under the mandate of the policy,” Mwanamvekha observed.

He said the 1993 policy was not explicit enough on matters related to forestry, horticultural and other special seed systems.

The Minister believes that the new policy would adequately address some of the bottlenecks the seed industry was facing and urged all stakeholders in the industry to make full use of the new policy.

Mwanamvekha disclosed that the industry has grown citing that in 1980 there was only one Seed Company but now there are 28 of them with over 700 agro-dealers throughout the country.

He encouraged the spirit of team work among all players in the industry in order to build the country and enhance productivity of the agriculture sector.

The Minister thanked World Bank through Donor Community on Agriculture and Food Security (DCAFS) for their technical and financial support to the development of the policy,
He hailed them for committing them to continue providing their support fot the seed industry to development in the country.

The Chairperson for DCAFS and Senior Agriculture Specialist for World Bank in Malawi, Walens Mwamvaneza pledged their continued support for the Seed Industry saying this would help to ensure that the country has a vibrant seed sector.

He said the seed sector need to be proactive and should aim at produced new hybrid varieties which could respond to the climate change adaptation at the same time increasing its productivity.

“We are encouraging the sector to spend more time in release different types of seed varieties in order to promote productivity among farmers. It is only through goof quality seed where as a country you stand a better chance of registering increased yield in all sectors,” Mwamvaneza stated.

Chairperson for Seed Traders Association in Malawi, John Lungu asked government to consider developing a new Seed Act to complement the new Seed Policy.

He said the policy need to be support with an act in order to provide a proper direction for the development of the seed industry in the country.

“All stakeholders are eagerly waiting to seeing the development of the seed act in the country so that it should help promote the development of high quality seeds and enhance productivity among farmers,” Lungu viewed.

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