Seed Info No. 43
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Seed Info is designed to stimulate information exchange and regular communication between seed staff in the Central and West Asia and North Africa (CWANA) region. Its purpose is to help strengthen national seed programs and thus improve the supply of quality seed to farmers. The WANA Seed Network corner provides information on activities related to global and/ or regional cooperation and collaboration to facilitate the development of a vibrant regional seed industry. In this issue, we highlight the establishment of the Seed Technology Unit (STU) in Qatar and the capacity development of human resources by the Seed Section of ICARDA. In the Arabian Peninsula, seed and forage production of introduced tropical crops such as clover and Rhodes grass are constrained by water scarcity and soil salinity risks. The alternative is to use drought tolerant native grasses and shrubs. The STU will be engaged in research and development of native grasses and shrub species in developing crop management practices, harvesting, and post harvesting technologies and procedures for production of quality seed and propagating material. From the outset, to meet the increasing and diverse needs of the national seed programs, the Seed Section adopted a ‘train-the-trainers’ approach, by which primary courses held at ICARDA Headquarters lead to follow-up courses organized in-country by national seed programs. The Seed Section continues to strengthen human resource develepment within the region. In the NEWS AND VIEWS section, Niels Louwaars from Plantum presents an article entitled Knowledge Policy is Vital for Seed Sector. The article highlights the need for investments in knowledge in a more complex seed value chain, from variety development to commercialization of seed to farmers. There is news from regional and / or international organizations, such as the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) and the African Seed Trade Association (AFSTA). AFSTA reports on its annual seed congress held in Zanzibar and launch of its new initiative Alliance for the Seed Industry in Eastern and Southern Africa (ASIESA), a public–private partnership between AFSTA and COMESA (Common Markets for Eastern and Southern Africa). ASIESA is expected to address the challenges identified through participatory workshops by the seed industry in the region. There is also a summary on the status and future strategy for wheat seed production in Asia presented during the meeting convened by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and Asia Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions in collaboration with CIMMYT and JIRCAS. The section on SEED PROGRAMS includes news from Ethiopia and Pakistan. From Ethiopia, the report covers the release of wheat and maize varieties. The Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) presented three bread wheat and two durum wheat varieties from its ongoing collaboration with ICARDA and CIMMYT, whereas the maize variety was released by the Ethiopian Seed Enterprise (ESE) – a public seed enterprise. The wheat varieties in Ethiopia are supported by United Sates Agency for international Development (USAID) seed projects for accelerating seed multiplication and popularization working with public and private sector partners to ensure availability and access to seed by farming communities across the country. News from Pakistan focused on the release of a chickpea variety by the Barani Agricultural Research Institute from material received from ICARDA. The RESEARCH section captures information on adaptive research or issues relevant to seed program development in the region and beyond. This issue features an article entitled Impact of Magnetic Seed Treatments on Synchronized Germination and Vigor Enhancement of Tomato Seed by Irfan Afzal et al. from the University of Agriculture in Faisalabad, Pakistan. This paper presents the role of magnetic seed treatment in stimulating seed germination and early seedling growth of tomato. Seed Info encourages the exchange of information between the national, regional, and global seed industries.