Seed Info No. 47
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Seed Info aims to stimulate information exchange and regular communication among 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 WANA Seed Network provides information on activities relating to global and/or regional cooperation and collaboration to facilitate the development of a vibrant regional seed industry. In this issue of Seed Info, we report on the activities of the FAO-SEC (FAO Sub-Regional Office for Central Asia) project ‘Seed Sector Development in Countries of the ECO’, funded jointly by the FAO-Turkey Partnership Program (FTPP) and ECO (Economic Cooperation Organization). The project aims at fostering regional seed sector development of ECO member countries by developing a harmonized regulatory framework and regional seed policy. We also report on the ECO Regional Seed Association (ECOSA) Seed Congress held during 10–11 January 2014 in Istanbul, Turkey along with the Turkish Seed Trade and Fairs and organized by the Turkish Seed Union (TÜRKTÖB). In the NEWS AND VIEWS section, Niels Louwaars from the Dutch Seed Association, Plantum, presents an article entitled Special Crop Protection Rules for the Seed Sector. The article highlights the important role of seed treatment technology in crop disease management. Most countries have quite strict rules for the approval of crop protection chemicals. It is important that they are aware both of the contributions of seed treatment to crop protection, and at the same time recognize the needs of the seed sector, where approvals for seed treatment chemicals need to be rationalized. Other news in this section comes from regional and/or international organizations, such as the African Seed Trade Association (AFSTA), the International Seed Federation (ISF), the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT). Moreover, highlights of the global status of commercialized biotech/GM crops in 2013 were covered, showing adoption and impact of this technology across industrialized and developing countries. The section on SEED PROGRAMS includes news from Ethiopia, Pakistan, and Syria. From Ethiopia, we report on the release of rust resistant wheat varieties by two agricultural research centers from the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) and Oromia Agricultural Research Institute (OARI). The United States Agency for International Development (USAID)- funded seed project implemented by ICARDA and EIAR is aimed at rapid deployment of rust resistant wheat varieties working with federal and regional agricultural research institutes; public and private seed enterprises and farmer seed associations; regional, zonal, and district bureaus of agriculture; and farmers. There are also reports on the release of wheat and faba bean varieties by the General Commission for Scientific Agricultural Research (GCSAR) in Syria from the productive partnerships with the international agricultural research centers such as ICARDA and CIMMYT. It is expected that seed of these new high yielding and (a)biotic stress tolerant varieties will become available to farming communities at large to realize the impact in 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 Participatory Variety Selection of Hybrid Maize Varieties in North West Ethiopia by Melkamu Elmyhun, Fentaw Abate, and Yeshitila Merene, from the Amhara Agricultural Research Institute in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. The paper discusses participatory variety selection of hybrid maize varieties with farmer research groups in two districts of West Gojjam Zone in northwestern Ethiopia. The study identified and recommended one high yielding and two early maturing varieties for Jabitehinan and South Achefer districts.