Seed Info No. 53
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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 News provides information on activities relating to global and/or regional cooperation and collaboration in order to facilitate the development of a vibrant regional seed industry. In this issue of Seed Info, we report on the regional seed courses organized by the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA). In the News and Views section, your editor Zewdie Bishaw is joined by Niels Louwaars, your regular contributor from the Dutch Seed Association, writing about World Seed Partnership: Strengthening the Global Seed Sector, elaborating on the development of the organized seed sector and subsequent establishment of international organizations for facilitation of cooperation and collaboration addressing the free movement of seed across the globe. We also provide highlights on the history of ‘Biopest’, the first company in commercial bumblebee rearing. Thirty years later, the company has become a global player in sustainable crop management as growers in more than 70 countries rely on Biobest products to grow a healthy and sustainable crop. Biobest is part of a vibrant and rapidly growing biocontrol and pollination industry, which is still tiny compared to the agrochemical industry, but thriving. Other news in this section come from regional and/or international organizations, such as the International Seed Federation (ISF), the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA), and the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV). ISF reports on establishment of the World Seed Partnership, a global alliance of four international organization dealing with seed sector development. We regularly receive a summary of highlights from UPOV which we gratefully acknowledge which is important in our quest to inform our audience. The section on Seed Programs presents news from Ethiopia and Turkey. Ethiopia is stepping up its decentralized seed production scheme, by promoting Cooperative-Based Seed Production licensing to produce and market seed at local level and to ensure the availability and access to seed of improved varieties along with agricultural service centers. Moreover, there is on-going effort for scaling the Input Voucher System (IVS) in Ethiopia. IVS was formulated in response to the difficulties that smallholder farmers face in accessing credit for agricultural inputs, such as fertilizers, seeds, and farm tools. The system engages local microfinance institutions (MFIs) or Rural Saving and Credit Cooperatives (RuSACCos) to qualify farmers for loans and issue cash or credit vouchers that can be used to redeem inputs at nearby cooperative stores. The report from Turkey provides a detailed history of chickpea and lentil production and variety development since the 1960s, as well as highlighting recent efforts in certified seed supply to revive the food legume sector. Although Turkey is a major global player in chickpea and lentil production and trade, food legume production went through ups and downs due to changing policies and priorities. In the 1980s, fallow Replacement Project played an important role, which resulted in peak production of chickpea and lentil in 1988 and which gradually declined to its current state. Currently, the private sector is stepping up legume seed production and delivery due to favorable government policies, promoting the use of improved agricultural technologies through various incentives. The Research section of Seed Info captures information on adaptive research or issues relevant to the development of seed programs in the CWANA region and beyond. This issue features an article by Aynewa et al. from ICARDA, Ethiopia, titled Identification of Field Pea Varieties in Southeastern Ethiopia. The paper discusses the participatory variety selection carried out at Africa Rising project sites in the Sinana district of Bale Zone in southeastern Ethiopia. Farmers identified high-yielding field pea varieties that were well adapted and preferred by farmers and entered into local seed production by farmer groups. Seed Info encourages the exchange of information between the national, regional, and global seed industries. We encourage our readers to share their views and news through this newsletter. Your contributions, in Arabic, English, or French, are most welcome. Take time to share and contribute to your newsletter.