BENEFIT-ISSD Project, Oromia East Unit Held Performance Evaluation of Seed Sector Development Workshop

 

The BENEFIT-ISSD East Oromia Unit conducted a workshop on performance evaluation of Seed Sector Development Project in East and West Hararghe zones on the achievements and future interventions from April 2-3, 2018 at Ras Hotel Harar Town.

A total of 40 peoples representing different organizations from Haramaya and Oda Bultum universities, Chercher Oda Bultum Union, Fedis Agricultural Research Center, East and West Hararghe Zones Cooperative Agencies and Woreda Cooperative Agencies from (Babile, Kersa, Habro, Oda Bultum and Mieso) participated on the workshop.

On his opening speech, Prof. Chemeda Fininsa, President of Haramaya University (HU), indicated that “Different challenges are present in the access to quality seed in the country such as lack of information on quality seed at farmers’ level, limited access to quality seed by farmers, and neglecting important food security crops by public organization and private companies. To ensure farmers access to locally preferred crop varieties ISSD project is integrating different seed sector components (formal, informal, and intermediate). Integration of seed sector stakeholders is very important.”

To do this, an agreement was reached in the country that aimed to assist farmers to produce and market quality seed of locally demanded crops through the help of Integrated Seed Sector Development (ISSD) Ethiopia project. Accordingly, various stakeholders are working a lot with the ISSD project to solve the challenges. However, farmers have limited capacities of technical and managerial skills to be engaged in quality seed marketing. Thus, ISSD project is working to improve farmers’ technical, managerial and organizational skills, so that they become entrepreneurs in seed business marketing. To identify the current status and challenges of this intervention, this workshop aimed to evaluate performance achievements of 2017 and plan tasks for 2018.

The presentation covered different activities under informal seed system, LSB development, value chain development, and knowledge sharing and capacity development. Institutionalization of seed certification center at the University, sustainable supply of basic seeds in the zones, low commitment of zones Bureau of Agriculture and Natural Resources (BOANR) to participate and institutionalize regional seed core group platform, low commitment of partners to implement piloting innovations, inefficient and unreliable seed demand assessment, weak seed marketing system, and lack of seed infrastructure (seed cleaning, processing, packaging and mini-laboratory for internal seed quality test mechanism) and weak collaboration and cooperation from woreda BOANR and cooperative agency were main challenges raised during this presentation.

In addition, key focus of 2018 such as variety promotion through crowd sourcing approach, strengthening organizational and financial capacities of seed producers cooperatives (SPCs), piloting conventional seed marketing, installing two post-harvest seed cleaning machines in East and West Hararghe zones, and establishing two mini-laboratories for quality seed test in East and West Hararghe zones were indicated in a plenary presentation.

In the two days workshop different project components presented their respective performances, evaluation and future focus areas. Accordingly, Fedis Agricultural Research Centre, Mechara Agricultural Research Centre, and Haramaya University Farm Management Unit made presentations on sustainable supply of early generation seeds. East and West Hararghe zones BOANR presented activity report on quality seed production and other capacity building activities such as training, field clustering and inspection activities.

HU-seed quality control and certification center also made presentation regarding achievements and challenges of seed certification process as well as various roles of the center such as providing guidelines and standard quality seed production, field level inspection, sample collection procedures in line with seed laws and regulations. Some challenges such as seed quality problems due to lack of seed infrastructure (value addition, store standardization, seed processing technologies), poor facilitations from seed producers and their partners, lack of pre-planning have been indicated during this session.

From all the plenary presentations and reflections of performance evaluation such as the contribution of BENEFIT-ISSD project and partners, the capital of SPCs and improved infrastructure development; improvements on individual income and livelihood of cooperative members were forwarded as positive feedbacks. Despite this achievements, different bottlenecks including limited technical and managerial skills of cooperatives, weak cooperation and collaboration among partners and stakeholders, weak seed marketing system, lack of seed data management (production, demand and supply), limited access to pre-basic and basic seeds, limited post-harvest seed processing technologies, limited participation of women in SPCs, weak transparent audit services of SPCs are being negatively impacting the business of quality seeds.

To solve the aforementioned challenges, BENEFIT-ISSD project, Oromia East unit presented target interventions for 2018 to improve efficiency of seed sector development in East and West Hararghe zones. The target focuses indicated are improving efficiency of conventional seed marketing system for 2018, business plan development for certified and basic seeds production, and support needed for this joint action plan and responsible bodies to own and ensure the implementation. Based on these focuses of 2018, partners and stakeholders were grouped in East and West Hararghe clusters and developed joint action plan.

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