Lusaka: Government has called on the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) region to harmonise seed trade across borders to remove obstacles to seed trade. Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives Permanent Secretary Abednego Banda says the seed industry in Eastern and Southern Africa is not very strong and posed challenges to small scale farmers.
He said small scale farmers in the region, who make up about 75 percent of the farmers, are being hindered from having quality seed and engaging in good agricultural practices that would help them increase crop production.
Mr. Banda said it is therefore imperative to have harmonized processes that will make the regional markets in Eastern and Southern Africa more attractive and viable.
Mr. Banda said this in a speech read for him by Director of Policy and Planning in the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives Julius Shawa during the opening of the COMESA seed certification harmonization workshop in Lusaka yesterday. He has also challenged the Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa (ACTESA) who are facilitating the workshop to work closely with relevant seed institutions in COMESA on the matter.
And ACTESA Acting Chief Executive Officer, Gizila Takavarasha said quality is the key to increased agricultural productivity. Ms Takavarasha said lack of harmonized and rationalized seed trade in the region has also affected seed development in the COMESA region. She has meanwhile commended Zambia for good policies which she says have helped enhance public and private seed initiatives to operate freely.