Malawi government has reiterated the need to for the development of seed industry in the country.
Speaking during the launch of National Seed Policy at Bingu international Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe, Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Joseph Mwanamvekha said the seed sector plays a vital role in shaping the development of the agriculture sector hence it should be given the much needed support.
Mwanamvekha added 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, said Mwanamvekha.
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, he said.
Mwanamvekha further said that the 1993 policy was not explicit enough on matters related to forestry, horticultural and other special seed systems.
He said that he 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 saying 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 teamwork among all players in the industry in order to build the country and enhance productivity of the agriculture sector.
The Minister then 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 also hailed them for committing them to continue providing their support for 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 producing new hybrid varieties which could respond to climate change adaptation at the same time increasing its productivity.
“We are encouraging the sector to spend more time in releasing different types of seed varieties in order to promote productivity among farmers. It is only through good quality seed whereas 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 supported 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 see 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 said.