Seed Info No. 55
Zewdie Bishaw. (1/8/2018). Seed Info No. 55. Beirut, Lebanon: International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA).
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 TAAT (Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation) Wheat Project Launching and Wheat Seed Sector Consultation workshop organized by ICARDA and the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research. In the News and Views section, Hélène Guillot from the International Seed Federation (ISF), Switzerland, writes about ‘Supporting seed choice for farmers,’ one of the position papers adopted by the General Assembly during the 69th ISF World Seed Congress in Brisbane, Australia. The position paper elaborates that the ISF acknowledges the contribution that farmers and local communities, as well as plant breeders, have made to the conservation and development of plant genetic resources, in line with its previous commitments (Seed Info No. 53). The ISF and its members – representing thousands of small, medium, large, local, regional, and international entities – are committed to the ISF Vision: ‘A world where the best quality seed is accessible to all,’ supporting sustainable agriculture and food security. Other news in this section comes 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). The section on Seed Programs presents news from Ethiopia, India, and Pakistan. In Seed Info No. 53, we reported that Ethiopia is embracing cooperative-based seed production (CBSP) and in Seed Info No. 54, we provided highlights of the CBSP project, initiated by the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA). In this issue, we provide the achievements of the two USAID-supported and ICARDA-implemented scaling projects on malt barley, faba bean, and chickpea in the highlands of Ethiopia. Since 2015, the project has been working to establish sustainable farmer-based seed production in the project target areas. This effort enabled the project to work with 37 farmers’ seed producer and marketing cooperatives, 7 farmers’ multipurpose cooperatives, and 6 unions for enhancing seed production and marketing. The project is structured within the framework of technology demonstration for demand creation cum technology multiplication and dissemination. From India we report on village seed hubs, an alternative approach where ICARDA is involved in lentil and grass pea seed production and marketing through the participation of organized farmer groups. Such alternative and innovative approaches enable the availability, access, and affordability of quality seed to smallholder farmers. The Research section of Seed Info captures information on research activities 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 Faba Bean Varieties Adapted to 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 faba bean varieties, which were well adapted, preferred by farmers, and were introduced into the local seed production. Seed Info encourages the exchange of information between national, regional, and global seed industries.