Seed Info No. 46
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Seed Info seeks to stimulate information exchange and regular communication between seed staff in the Central and West Asia and North Africa (CWANA) region and beyond. Its purpose is to help strengthen national seed programs and thus improve the supply of high quality seed to farmers. The West Asia and North Africa (WANA) Seed Network provides information on activities relating to global and/or regional cooperation and collaboration that facilitate the development of a vibrant regional seed industry. In this issue of Seed Info, we report on the international Workshop on Community Seed Production organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) jointly with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), and Catholic Relief Services (CRS). One objective of the workshop was to obtain a better understanding of community seed production (CSP) practices worldwide by exchanging experiences from different regions. Another was to develop a roadmap and strategies for enhancing the uptake and effective implementation of CSP in developing countries. The workshop explored the scope, opportunities, and challenges in CSP and identified the critical points necessary for effective implementation. We also report on the Economic Cooperation Organization Seed Association (ECOSA) seed congress and business forum and seed courses conducted by the Seed Section of ICARDA to strengthen human resource development within the region. In the NEWS AND VIEWS section, Niels Louwaars from the Dutch Seed Association, Plantum, presents an article entitled Seed Legislation − Creating Space for Diversity. The article highlights the need for and challenges in creating flexible legislation to create a diversity of seed systems using the European Union (EU) as an example. While in the past, the EU compulsory variety registration and seed certification system was geared towards more uniform standards and approaches, this notion is being challenged because of the diverse needs of the seed industry. The emergence of organic farming, the need for conservation of traditional varieties, renewed interest in local or regional products, etc. are issues that need to be accommodated within the new legislation. Other news in this section comes from regional and/or international organizations, such as the African Union, the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA), and the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV). The section on SEED PROGRAMS includes news from Ethiopia, Morocco, and Pakistan. From Ethiopia, we report on the progress of an ICARDA-EIAR (Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research) project entitled ‘Rapid Deployment of Rust Resistant Wheat Varieties for Achieving Food Security in Ethiopia’. This project, funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), is designed to deploy rust resistant wheat varieties rapidly. The project works with federal and regional agricultural research institutes, federal and regional public seed enterprises, private seed enterprises, farmers’ seed associations, regional, zonal, and district Bureaus of Agriculture, and most importantly, farmers. There are also reports on the release of cereal and legume varieties by national agricultural research systems (NARS) from various countries. It is expected that the seed of these new high yielding and (a)biotic stress tolerant varieties will become available to farming communities at large thus increasing agricultural production and productivity and ensuring food and nutritional security in the respective countries. The RESEARCH section of Seed Info captures information on adaptive research or issues relevant to developing seed programs in the CWANA region and beyond. This issue features an article entitled ‘Effects of Different Moisture Content and Temperature on Storability of Pearl Millet Seeds’ by Manish K. Vijay, Sushil Pandey, and Chithra D. Pandey, from the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources, New Delhi, India. The paper discusses experiments on the storability of pearl millet seeds under varying moisture content and temperature. The results demonstrated that ultra-drying is an effective method for extending seed longevity during storage under ambient and medium-term conditions.