Seed Info No. 45
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Seed Info seeks to stimulate Information exchange and regular communications between 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 which facilitate the development of a vibrant regional seed industry. In this issue of Seed Info, we report on the establishment of a Seed Technology Unit (STU) in Yemen. The STU is organized to make seed of targeted indigenous forage species available through better crop management practices, appropriate post-harvest technologies, and extensive capacity building. We also continue to report on seed courses conducted by the Seed Section of the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) to strengthen human resource development within the region. In the NEWS AND VIEWS section, Niels Louwaars from the Dutch Seed Association, Plantum, presents an article entitled Public-Private Partnerships in Research. The article highlights the need for public-private partnerships in an era of declining government funding. Public funding is under pressure in many countries, and public research institutions and universities are under pressure to find other sources of funds. One way for government breeding programs to earn money is to license out their new varieties to private sector seed producers, based on the breeder's rights to these varieties. Where plant breeder’s rights are not yet operational and where compulsory seed certification schemes are in place, breeders can also include a royalty payment in the price of high-value early generation (breeder's or basic/foundation) seed that they supply to multipliers. However, such high prices for basic/foundation seed may likely invite evasion of a strict application of the generation system in seed certification. Other news in this section comes from regional and/or international organizations, such as the International Seed Federation (ISF), the African Seed Trade Association (AFSTA), the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA), and the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV). The section on SEED PROGRAMS includes news from Egypt, Ethiopia, Pakistan, and India. The report covers the 2013 Biotechnology Day organized by the Egyptian Biotechnology Information Center (EBIC) and hosted by Cairo University. From Ethiopia, we report on the launch of the Advanced Maize Seed Adoption Program by DuPont. This is a public-private collaborative initiative in Ethiopia, which will boost maize productivity among smallholder farmers. With an investment of more than USD4 million over the next three years, this initiative will help increase food production for local communities. There are also reports on the release of cereal and legume varieties from productive partnerships between international agricultural research centers and the national agricultural research systems of Ethiopia, Pakistan, and India. It is expected that when seed of these new high-yielding and (a)biotic stress-tolerant varieties become available to farming communities at large, famers will achieve increasing agricultural production and productivity and be able to ensure food and nutritional security in their respective countries. The RESEARCH section of Seed Info captures information on adaptive research on issues relevant to developing seed programs in the CWANA region and beyond. This issue features an article entitled Establishing Community based Small-scale Seed Production Scheme in Metekel Zone, Benishangul Gumuz Regional State, Ethiopia by Melaku et al. from Pawe Agricultural Research Center (PARC), Ethiopia. This paper discusses the efforts of PARC to establish community based seed production to make the seed of new legume varieties available to farmers in Metekel Administrative Zone (MAZO), northwestern Ethiopia.