About 60 participants of seed stakeholders from West African and Sahelian countries are expected at the 5th West Africa Regional Seed and Seedling Committee (WARSSC) meeting in Abuja.
Mr Sabo Nanono, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development will preside over the meeting aimed to review the status of implementation of harmonised regional seed regulations in West Africa.
Ms Henriette Kaba, the Media Manager of West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF), who made this known on Friday in Abuja in a statement, said the meeting would hold from Oct. 16 to Oct. 18.
Kaba said the the review by the WARSSC would be in line with the three intergovernmental organisations of ECOWAS, West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), and Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS).
She said that these three intergovernmental organisations had various consultations in 2014 and 2017.
She said consultations led to the formulation and adoption of a seed regulation, harmonising the rules governing the quality control, certification and marketing of plant seeds and seedlings in the ECOWAS-UEMOA-CILSS region.
Kaba said in 2008, ECOWAS adopted the harmonised regional seed regulations and a year later, UEMOA adopted a similar mechanism.
She said in 2018, the two regional organisations joined CILSS to renew an earlier agreement conferring responsibility on CORAF.
She said that the responsibility was to manage the implementation of the harmonised regional regulations on seeds and seedlings in West Africa.
“The responsibility also extended to serving as the permanent secretariat of the West Africa Regional Seed and Seedling Committee (WARSSC).’’
She said that the primary objective of the regulations was to create an environment conducive to the growth of the seed industry.
She said that presently with the exception of three countries, almost all ECOWAS member countries in addition to Chad and Mauritania had formally adopted the harmonised regional regulation.
Dr Abdou Tenkouano, the Executive Director of CORAF was quoted in the statement as saying that harmonised laws and regulations provide the right conditions for promoting seed production and quality control.
“They provide the basis for healthy competition between seed companies, promote the free movement of seeds across borders and provide farmers with access to high-quality seeds,’’ Tenkouano said.
According to the him, the fifth statutory meeting of the WARSSC is organised by CORAF and funded by UEMOA Commission and USAID, through the Partnership for Agricultural Research, Education and Development (PAIRED) Programme.
He said that the committee has the objective of facilitating the implementation of the harmonised regional seed regulation aimed at creating favourable conditions for the emergence of a strong seed industry.
“This industry will be capable of ensuring a regular supply, at the right time of sufficient quantities of quality seeds in the 17 countries of the sub-regional space, ’’ he said.
Tenkouano disclosed that stakeholders at the meeting would also be saddled with the responsibility of assessing progress in the execution of recommendations from the fourth meeting held in Dakar, Senegal in 2018.