The workshop on Plant Variety Protection forms part of the Harmonized Seed Security Project (HaSSP) which has as primary objective access to seed of improved varieties and facilitated movement of such seed between SADC member states. This project flows from the previous SADC Seed Security Network. For FANRPAN, the HaSSP project funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation covers four countries: Malawi, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
For the first time, there seems to be measurable progress in SADC towards extending legal protection of new varieties, as the product of scientific innovation and personal endeavour, to the innovator/owner of such varieties. It is well recognized that modern varieties can contribute to higher yield potential, improved resistance to pests and diseases and an extended range of qualities and uses. Yet, perhaps some of the driving forces behind expediting protection of plant varieties may not have been sufficiently emphasized.