Seed Info No. 56
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Seed Info aims to stimulate information exchange and regular communication 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 News provides information on activities relating to global and/or regional cooperation and collaboration to facilitate the development of a vibrant regional seed industry. In this issue of Seed Info, we report on the launch of the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) Wheat Project and the Wheat Seed Sector Consultation workshop organized by the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and the Agricultural Research Corporation in Sudan and the Lake Chad Research Institute in Nigeria. In the News and Views section, Adamu Molla and Zewdie Bishaw from ICARDA, Ethiopia, write about ‘Sowing the seed of success: Ethiopia on a new path to explore global malt markets’ – a report on Ethiopia’s potential in malt barley production and marketing in Africa and globally. Barley has been grown by farmers in Ethiopia for millennia for food, local beer production, and medicinal purposes. Farmers across the country’s different agro-ecologies have grown barley for centuries and have developed a unique diversity of ecotypes and landraces. Today, barley is in the spotlight for its potential to boost the economy by attracting interest from international malt markets and breweries. With the entry of international maltsters and big beer brands, expanding malt barley production for domestic and international markets through public–private partnerships is a key way forward. Other news in this section comes from regional and/or international organizations, such as 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 and Syria. From Ethiopia, we provide information on the annual general assembly of the Ethiopian Seed Association and the findings of the assessment and identification of the policy and regulatory constraints of private seed sector development in Ethiopia. The key challenges and suggested solutions presented during the annual meeting by the members of the association and key stakeholders of the seed sector in the country will be conveyed to the Ministry of Agriculture. From Syria, we report on the on-going efforts made to rehabilitate the agricultural research and seed sectors to enhance food production capacity in Syria to support the General Council for Scientific and Agricultural Research (GCSAR) and General Organization for Seed Multiplication (GOSM). In addition, we also report ICARDA’s work on the varietal release of cereals and legumes through partnership with national agricultural research systems (NARS) in Asia and Africa. 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 – ‘Farmers preferences for malt barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) varieties adapted to northern Ethiopia’. The paper discusses the participatory variety selection carried out at the Africa Rising project sites in the Endamehoni district of the southern zone of Tigray Regional State in northern Ethiopia. Farmers identified high-yielding malt barley varieties that were well adapted, preferred by farmers, and were introduced into local seed production. Seed Info encourages the exchange of information between national, regional, and global seed industries.