FAO supports pan-African seed testing labs

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FAO supports pan-African seed testing labs

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has announced its support for a new initiative to boost harmonization of seed markets across the African continent.

The Forum for Africa Seed Testing (FAST) will initially be based in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, established by the African Union and the African Seed Network.

The FAO says FAST will speed up the implementation of laws to harmonize the sector, promote seed testing and quality control, while also establishing testing protocols for major crops.

“The problem of poor seed quality has plagued African agriculture for years and has, in part, contributed to the failure of the green revolution in Africa," said FAO Agriculture and Consumer Protection Department senior officer Robert Guei.

"Inadequate supply of quality seeds for both food and cash crops is one of the biggest bottlenecks to food production on the continent, contributing to food insecurity, impeded economic growth, reduced seed trade amongst countries and created a dependence on seed and food.

He said FAST would also work with 'non-traditional' crops such as African cabbage and black nightshade.

"If we could harmonize seed quality testing methods for these tropical crops then we would be doing a great deal to enhance and support the continent’s native seed trade."

Photo: Tom Adlam

Source: www.freshfruitportal.com

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