Development of a seed reserve system in the pipeline

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(Photo: Anteneh Aklilu)

The formation of a seed reserve system has been included on the seed proclamation that was tabled for amendment from the former law.
The draft proclamation discussed this week at parliament aimed to ensure seeds’ security and sovereignty, and sustainable seeds supply in terms of quality, variety and volume.
Modernizing and making the country plant seeds arguably makes the industry internationally competitive and attracts technology and investment and the draft proclamation has captured that as an additional target to amend the proclamation that was issued in 2000 and amended in 2003.
In the clarification statement that was attached on the draft proclamation, the formation of a seed reserve is stated as crucial for provision of available sustainable improved seeds.
“So far our data management and analysis only indicates the seeds demand gap rather than implicating how to manage the gap and the necessary solutions thereof,” the clarification document read.
“The major concept of forming the reserve system is to save extra improved seeds harvested on heyday seasons for upcoming crop periods whilst being considerate of the changing demand of farmers in terms of crop varieties,” it added.
It also stated that the system is vital as it will help in refraining from using the emergency seeds.
“Experiences indicated that up to 400,000 quintal of improved seeds are leftover in a single year, while the improved seed is either sold as grain or some of the stock is damaged at stores while the rest remain stored,” the document explains, adding, “if we have a structure to keep the extra improved seeds with a required system, it can be stored for up to five years.”
The formation of the seed reserve system will be guided by a legal framework that will be ratified by Council of Minister regulation and may include different ministers besides the Ministry of Agriculture.
The new proclamation has also aimed to boost the interest of the private sector involvement in the industry, and targets to reduce seeds import and expands export on the sector besides feeding the growing agro processing industry sustainably whilst ensuring food security.
At the current stage almost all of vegetable seeds are imported, while the grain seed import is also growing from time to time. At the same time the use of improved seeds has wider gaps when compared to the demand.
The availability of improved seeds at competitive prices is also expected to come up with the guidance of the proclamation and laws that will follow it as directives.
Replacing grain import and expand agricultural commodity like wheat export has also been stated as the outcome of the new proclamation that parliament approved for further review by the standing committee.
The new proclamation is expected to support the sector research and increase the number of players on the sector in addition to creating a modern market structure.
Flourishing of foreign investors in the sector, the implementation of approved international laws, and improving plant seeds foreign trade are also the targets of the proclamation.
Providing special privileges for imported plant varieties to accommodate the growing agro industrial parks input demand, and improving contract farming businesses are also stated as potential results that shall follow the proclamation approval.
Creating competitive market systems, need for seeds reserve, and the necessity of quality and standardization are some of the other major areas that were stated for the need of amendment of the proclamation.