Irish ambassador to Malawi Aine Hearns has commended the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (Icrisat) for increasing seed production countrywide.
Speaking in Lilongwe during the inauguration of a seed warehouse and a seed management information system at Icrisat last weekend, Hearns said Ireland is happy to note that the organisation, through the Malawi Seed Development Project, is bringing to fruition the shared vision of increasing agricultural productivity of smallholder agriculture.
The project is funded by the Irish government.
Hearns explained that from 2008 and 2013, Icrisat had increased legume certified seed supply in the country from 270 tonnes to 2 405 tonnes and over 2 million farmers had been reached out to.
“I am happy that Icrisat has ramped up seed production, increased storage capacity and indeed for the first time a seed system management information system will serve this country,” she said.
The new warehouse at Icrisat has increased capacity to 200 tonnes of seed, making a twofold increase in storage capacity.
She noted that the investment at Icrisat has galvanised legume seed actors under the Malawi Seed Alliance which produces 54 percent of the legume seed sown in Malawi.
The development of the digital seed management information system at Icrisat, according to Hearns, will also help in protecting farmers from counterfeit seed.
“These investments are part of larger efforts to strengthen seed value chains in Malawi in support of government’s efforts to improve access to agriculture productivity enhancing technology,” he said.
She said her government places high commitment on improving agricultural productivity in Malawi and improve the life of smallholder farmers.