Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (Agra) says the poor performance of the country’s seed systems affects farmers’ productivity.
This is according to an assessment Agra conducted, whose results were subjected to a national validation session last week in Lilongwe.
Key players in the sector reviewed, discussed the scores and rationales as well as recommendations on areas that need improvement and appropriate actions.
In an interview, Agra country manager Sophie Chitedze said the poor performance of the seed sector affects farmers’ drive to take farming as a business.
She said: “The low performance of the seed sector is impacting farmers’ productivity and seed utilisation because without quality seed, without necessary legal framework, without adhering to seed protocols, then a farmer becomes a victim..”
Chitedze said with the Seed Act in place, Agra believes there will be significant improvements in the performance of the country’s seed sector due to the establishment of a Seed Regulatory Authority to police the sector.
During the last meeting of Parliament, legislators passed the Seed Bill and President Lazarus Chakwera assented to it last month.
Ministry of Agriculture Seed Services Unit deputy quality assurance manager Wilson Chafutsa said the results show that there is room for improvement.
He said there was need to look at the capacity of personnel in the seed value chains, infrastructure needs and training for several players in the sector.
Said Chafutsa: “The research has exposed some weak areas which we are supposed to work on so that we improve.
“From the breeding side, we need to bring the right variety that is in high demand and even how the seed flows from producers to farmers.”
Recent studies show that 60 percent of the country’s seed is not certified, a development that affects results during harvest.
The Agra seed assessment tool assessed eight thematic areas in the performance of the country’s seed sector to see what is working to come up with recommendations to address the gaps.
The scores on all the eight thematic areas were found unsatisfactory with the only area the country is doing well being the legal framework.
Agra has been implementing the Seed Systems Assessment Tool programme in four African countries, namely Kenya, Uganda, Malawi and Ghana.