|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 national consultation workshop in Iran that set about to establish a national umbrella seed industry association. This organization would represent the interest and protect the rights of its members, the national seed industry, and networking members, and establish links to the regional and global seed industries. This issue also presents the highlights of the FAO Expert Consultation on Seed Policy Formulation.
In the NEWS AND VIEWS section, Rudi Schachl presents a proposal for a Glacial Gene Center for Cereals. The article discusses the gene center theory by Vavilov. It also reflects on the genetic and evolutionary aspects of a gene center, taking into account the origin of domesticated plant species rather than the variation arising from their use in agriculture. In this context, a ‘glacial gene center for cereals’ in the Arabian peninsula and the emergence and movement of gene centers, most probably before variation created by humans lead to their eventual and gradual domestication, is discussed.
There is news from regional and/or international organizations, such as the African Union Commission (AU), UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), and the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV). UNECE is one of the five regional commissions of the United Nations with the primary goal of encouraging greater economic cooperation among its 56 member states. The UNECE reports on setting standards for seed potato to facilitate fair international trade and prevent technical barriers to trade, improving producers’ profitability and encouraging production of high-quality produce, and protecting consumer interests.
The section on SEED PROGRAMS includes news from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, and Pakistan. From Eritrea, the report covers the outcomes of a national seed workshop, organized in collaboration with ICARDA and IFAD. The workshop sought to implement the national seed system development project and to prepare a consolidated 2011/12 work plan based on project design documents. Major stakeholders from the Ministry of Agriculture and affiliated departments participated in the meeting. The news from Ethiopia describes the release of wheat rust resistant varieties, developed through collaboration between the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) and ICARDA, and quality protein maize developed in conjunction with CIMMYT. ICARDA, with the USAID Famine Fund Project, is supporting accelerated seed multiplication (off-season and main season) and popularization of these newly released varieties; working with partners including EIAR, Ethiopian Seed Enterprise, etc. to ensure availability and access to seed by farming communities across the country. In Iran, the news covers the efforts made to strengthen plant variety protection within the Seed and Plant Certification and Research Institute (SPCRI), with the assistance of the FAO TCP Project. News from Pakistan focused on the release of various agricultural and horticultural crops in 2011 by the Punjab Seed Council.
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 ‘Supporting Local Seed Systems: the Case of Faba Bean in Waterlogged Areas of Central Ethiopia’, by Wondafrash Mulugeta et al. from the Debre Birhan Agricultural Research Center of the EIAR. The article describes Participatory Variety Selection (PVS) through Farmer Research Groups (FRGs) organized by the center and the support provided to local seed production and marketing to facilitate adoption and diffusion of improved varieties in the central highlands of Ethiopia.
Seed Info encourages the exchange of information between the national, regional, and global seed industries.