Press Release: Harmonized Seed Security (HaSSP) - Malawi

Background of Project: 
What was the need for the project?
A major constraint to agricultural productivity and food security in SADC is an inadequate supply of high quality seed due to climatic, economic and human factors. In years of seed shortage member states need to import seeds from neighbouring countries. However, this process can be complicated because laws and regulations are disjointed. The implementation of the SADC Harmonized Seed Regulatory System will make a significant difference to the region, culminating in a larger SADC market for seed. On February 2010, SADC ministers of agriculture approved the protocol for regional harmonization of seed policies. 

The Donor: 
The project is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) from January 2010 to December 2013. 

FANRPAN project Intervention: 
This pilot project for SADC is implemented by the Food, Agriculture, Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) in four SADC Member States. It seeks to provide an enabling environment to domesticate the regional seed protocol, harmonize seed policies and legislation and implement the provisions of the protocol with enhanced national capacities. The four pilot countries are: Malawi, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. 

FANRPAN makes use of the following instruments to achieve this goal:

  • Policy dialogue platforms
  • Policy research and advocacy
  • Provision of technical assistance to review national policy and legislation on seed
  • Capacity strengthening of key institutions and individuals involved in critical stages of the seed value chain
  • Monitoring and evaluation

The Malawi Story:

  • Two HaSSP seed producing communities have been established in Lumbadzi- Lilongwe and Mvera - Dowa Districts where maize, beans and groundnut seed are being grown.
  • HaSSP Consultants conducted an audit of the seed certification institute (Seed Services Institute) in Malawi during the month of March 2011. The objective of the audit was to enable FANRPAN to identify human capacity/knowledge gaps and training needs in Malawi.
  • HaSSP conducted a Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Training workshop in January 2011 in Lilongwe to sensitize the 13 participants on M&E concepts as well as to develop an M&E framework for the project in Malawi.
  • FANRPAN was subcontracted by AFSTA to conduct baseline studies under Common Markets for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA’s) COMRAP project in each of the four pilot countries. The study was commissioned in the four respective countries and a report was submitted on the Malawian seed sector including seed statistics (production and import/export), availability and status of seed infrastructure, and assessment of capacity of the country to implement requirements in the following five areas:(1) seed certification, (2)variety evaluation, release and registration (3) phytosanitary measures;(4) plant variety protection and (5) seed import/export documentation and procedures.
  • FANRPAN in partnership with the CISANET (the FANRPAN node) organized a Malawi National HaSSP workshop attended by 38 stakeholders in the seed industry. The purpose of the workshop was to develop a plan for Malawi to harmonize its policies, legislation and systems with SADC protocols on seed. The workshop was held from the 4th to the 6th of July 2010 in Lilongwe. It was officially opened by the Controller of Agriculture, Extension and Technical Services Dr J. Luhanga.
  • The national work plan developed by stakeholders in Lilongwe was reviewed in Pretoria during a HaSSP Regional Planning and Budget Meeting conducted from the 10th to the 11th of August 2010 where a regional action plan was developed.
  • A seed elder was nominated at the HaSSP inception workshop held at Kopanong, Johannesburg South Africa in May, 2010. The HaSSP seed elder is Mr. Edson Musopole, who has worked for the Ministry of Agriculture as an Agriculture Extension Coordinator and Action Aid Malawi as Smallholder Seed Development Coordinator. Currently he is chairman of the Civil Society Agriculture Network (CISANET).

The Field Day: 
The field trip will be held at DOWA District: MVERA 9h30 on 14 April 2011. The field day will showcase:

  • Importance of HaSSP to the farming community of Malawi, especially in seed production
  • Good management practices of the seed crop
  • Advertising the seed crop, especially to seed companies who are interested in purchasing the seed
  • Appreciation of the funding from the Swiss Development Co-operation