COMESA eyes US$5 million seed revenue

By Wellington Zimbowa
THE Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) is geared to boost seed production in the next five years to reach a US$5 billion seed trade revenue among member states through the promotion of labels and certification as part of an effort to stir the Harmonized Seed Trading Platform.
According to Secretary-General Ms Chileshe Kapwepwe, the region is producing 500,000 tonnes of seed although there is potential to produce 2 000 00 tonnes.
Labels and certification are integral in the implementation of the COMESA Seed Harmonization Implementation Plan (COMSHIP) to increase seed trade from the present US$2 billion.
This follows the 2015 endorsement by agriculture ministers of the Seed Trade Harmonization Regulations, leading to COMSHIP in a bid to have uniformity quality and standards thus improving on food security.
Lately, the Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa – a COMESA agency – trained chief executives and technical managers from nine private seed companies to appraise them on labelling and certification issues.
“This scenario has contributed to the high levels of food insecurity and hunger as production is affected by farmers who do not use high quality and improved seeds in their fields,” she added.
The COMESA Seed Trade Harmonization Regulations were developed to increase seed production, seed trade, reliability and competitiveness with eight members having fully aligned their national seed laws to the bloc’s system.
Zimbabwean seed companies such as Seedco trade on basis of the bloc’s regulations alongside those in Burundi, Egypt, Malawi, Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe

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