Government says the local seed industry is leading in the provision of quality seed in the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) because of reforms that have been instituted in the sector.
Speaking on the sidelines of a para seed inspectors workshop currently underway at Chitedze Research Station in Lilongwe, senior deputy director of the Department of Agricultural Research Services, Tenyson Mzengeza, said huge investments in the seed sector have helped the country to be a leader in Africa.
He said.”Our country was a net importer of certified seed in the 1900s but today we are exporting seed of hybrid maize, groundnuts and other crops to neighbouring countries.
“We also have adequate seed of hybrid maize and other crops to meet national requirements. The Department of Agricultural Research is able to provide seed certification services which meet international standards.”
Mzengeza said the rapid growth in the seed industry has overstretched the seed certification control services and can no longer provide adequate inspectorate and other related services.
“The ministry is looking for innovative ways of addressing this challenge. We are reforming the seed policy and the Seed Act.
“By organising a para seed inspectors course, it symbolises government’s commitment to reforms. The ministry will empower you and you will be licensed to inspect and certify seed on behalf of the department,” he said.
International Crop Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics (Icrisat) country director Patrick Okori said the institution has already produced 100 para seed inspectors and the coming in of the 60 currently undergoing training will bring the number to 160.
A seed expert, Jeff Luhanga, who is a former Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development said the coming in of para seed inspectors will help farmers as well as companies to access quality seed.