Seed Sector in Sub-Saharan Africa – policy brief

http://www.ifpri.org/pubs/bp/bp006.asp#dl
This is a link to a policy brief published last month by IFPRI: “Promoting a Strong Seed Sector in Sub-Saharan Africa” Author: Nicholas Minot. Peter Bloch, CAS-IP’s market development specialist wrote the following in connection with this topic:

“The access to public-sector germplasm and proposed harmonization of seed regulation both involve intellectual property issues and, in the case of the former, a new approach by the CG and by NARS to public goods policy. The West Africa Seed Alliance (WASA), which has been pursuing the goals advocated in this paper, has been making progress on both fronts in West Africa.”

IFPRI summarised the report as follows:

“The policy brief from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) suggests that sub-Saharan Africa needs a cost- effective system of seed production and distribution, and that a coordinated effort between the public and private sectors is necessary to make this happen. The public sector, it says, needs to invest more in plant breeding and the development of new varieties, particularly open-pollinated varieties of staple food crops.

According to the policy brief, seed production and marketing are often more efficiently carried out by private seed companies, but they must be supported with an enabling policy environment. Such an environment would include: 1) a clear legal framework for private seed companies; 2) access to public-sector germplasm; 3) the absence of subsidized state seed companies; 4) streamlined varietal release policies; 5) regional harmonization of seed regulations; 6) and limits on the distribution of free seed by non-governmental organizations in nonemergency situations. The brief also says that seed policy should help promote efficient informal seed systems, while controlling misleading sales practices.”

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