Seed Info No. 32
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Seed Info aims to stimulate information exchange and communication among seed staff in the Central and West Asia and North Africa (CWANA) region. The purpose is to help strengthen national seed programs, which supply quality seed to farmers. In this edition of Seed Info we include a SeedQuest editorial ‘The Power of Seeds’ by Dr Norman E. Borlaug, father of the Green Revolution and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate reproduced from Plant Breeding News of 30 April 2006. Environmental safety is a key issue in the introduction of genetically modified (GM) crops. Genetic Use Restriction Technologies (VGURT), dubbed ‘terminator technology’ in the popular press, is now promoted because of its value in biologically containing GM crops. In the NEWS AND VIEWS section, Niles Louwaars and Jan Nap from Wageningen University and Research Center discuss the potential use of VGURT. In their article, ‘Genetically modified plants with non-GM pollen as an alternative to achieve biosafety’ the authors show how this approach can prevent adventitious presence of transgenes in non-GM crops or related wild species, and serve as a biological containment tool for the deployment and management of coexistence practices to support consumer choice. For more details, read the article in the Plant Biotechnology Journal (2006, vol. 4, page 445). We bring you news on harmonization of seed policy and phytosanitary regulations in the Andean Community of Nations (CAN), a subregional organization, with international legal status, whose members are Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. There is also news from the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications, International Seed Federation, International Seed Testing Association, and the Asia Pacific Seed Association. The section on SEED PROGRAMS includes news from Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The news from Afghanistan focuses on the DAI project under the Alternative Livelihoods Program, being implemented by ICARDA. The program is establishing village-based seed enterprises in Kunar, Laghman and Nangarhar provinces in eastern Afghanistan. Also from Afghanistan: a potato seed project implemented by CIP and ICARDA; and a seed industry development project by FAO. The news from Ethiopia and Iran focuses on efforts by ICARDA and Wageningen International to strengthen human resources and research capacity at national and regional levels. Other stories describe the Tailor Made Training Program to strengthen farmerbased seed production and supply in Ethiopia; and an international training course on “Plant genetic resources and seeds: policies, conservation and use” in Iran. There is also news about PVP workshop in Tajikistan and in-country training in Uzbekistan. In the HOW TO section, Abdoul Aziz Niane discusses the practical application of control plots in seed certification schemes. We invite our readers to contribute to this section and share their practical experience. The RESEARCH section aims to capture information on adapted research or issues relevant to seed program development in the region and beyond. Asrat Asfaw from the Southern Agricultural Research Institute in Ethiopia shares experiences with farmer-based seed production of common beans, potato and maize in southern Ethiopia. Seed Info encourages the exchange of information to broaden our understanding of issues that affect the national, regional, and global seed industry.