Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN)

Harmonized Seed Security (HaSSP) Community Seed Projects Training Workshop Report: Swaziland
February 2011
Christopher Mthethwa

The Harmonised Seed Security Project (HaSSP) is conceived as a pilot project that is designed to gain entry into an initial four countries (Malawi, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe) that have been assessed and found to be most ready for quick take-off. HASSP will finance the following main activities: (i) the process of reviewing national policy and legislation on seed; (ii) capacity strengthening of key institutions and individuals involved in critical stages of the seed value chain, including upgrading of laboratory facilities for seed testing and phytosanitary control; (iii) policy research and advocacy around seed issues; (iv) establishment of national and regional databases and other activities for information and knowledge dissemination on new seed policies and regulations, and new varieties released and commercialized.

For HASSP, SDC has chosen to partner with the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), a legally constituted private voluntary organization registered in Zimbabwe in 2003 that is capable of reaching out to the large diversity of stakeholders expected for the project. FANRPAN was conceived in 1994 in response to a call by SADC Ministers of Agriculture and Food Security for an autonomous institution that would champion policy research to generate evidence to inform policy makers, create platforms for policy dialogue and voice, and build capacity of member states in policy formulation.

By the end of HASSP in April 2013, at least four countries in SADC would have successfully domesticated and operationalized the harmonized seed systems. Trade bottlenecks affecting movement of seeds across borders in the region will have been reduced and accessibility (availability and affordability) of higher quality seeds to poor smallholder farmers will have increased in these four pilot countries. Staple food yield and household farm incomes will have started improving.

Under HaSSP, Swaziland has the following activities: conducting a baseline study for the seed industry; establishment of new community seed production schemes/strengthening of existing groups; alignment of seed policy/development of seed regulation; training needs assessment; and signing of a memorandum of understanding by the SADC ministers of agriculture. For the establishment of new community seed production, the country proposed to establish at least three new groups and has managed to do so. The groups are as follows: Bumbeni Farmers' Association (Shewula), African Christian College (Tubungu Farm) and Swaziland Water and Agricultural Development Enterprise (SWADE) Seed Production Scheme. Before engaging in seed production, the new groups' were thoroughly trained in both seed production and seed business management. The training was conducted on the 21st December 2010 at Lomahasha Inkhundla Centre for the Shewula group. For the other groups, the training was not conducted because of different reasons. SWADE does not need any training because the project would be under the management of its staff (guidance is only needed and training would be needed the following season when the seed would be produced by the different farmers' schemes). The African Christian College, on the other hand, also does not need any training because their manager who is responsible for the seed production was attached to CIMMYT for more than six months as a form of training.

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