COMESA Harmonized Regulations

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In 2010, AFSTA was requested by COMESA to spearhead the development of harmonized seed trade regulations for the 19 member states so as to facilitate quality seed movement within the COMESA region. This was in response to the directive of the COMESA Council of Minister during their meeting held in Seychelles in 2008 as they strategized the challenges facing food insecurity in the COMESA region.

AFSTA worked with COMESA through ACTESA to coordinate activities that involved all seed experts from the 19 member states to come up with 3 harmonized technical agreements on variety release system, seed certification and phytosanitary measures that would guide the harmonized regulations. In 2011, the 3 technical agreements culminated to a draft COMESA harmonized seed trade regulations that underwent rigorous vetting by the COMESA legal and other seed experts and cleared for adoption by the Agricultural ministers. In September 2013, the COMESA Ministers of Agriculture adopted the draft to a document that would be used by all member states. The COMESA harmonized seed trade regulations will facilitate intra-seed trade, encourage integration, enhance agricultural growth and ultimately improve food security and communities’ livelihood in the region.

The seed industry will benefit from the COMESA harmonized seed trade regulations in many ways that includes:

• Simplified custom procedures that facilitates quick movement of quality seed within COMESA region

• Quicker improved variety release and distribution into other countries

• Through the development and adoption of a common pest list, unnecessary inhibitive quarantine requirements will be reduced to facilitate seed movement in the region.

• Seed companies will be motivated to breed varieties that are adaptive to farmers system by involving farmers in selection of germplasm that suit their needs.

• Enhancement of seed traded between borders resulting in saving time and resources in seed movement in the region

• Enhancement of more efficient movement of quality seed in the region.

• Increased volumes and value of traded improved quality seed in COMESA Member States.

• Contribute to enhanced growth of the Africa seed industry

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