ISSD Conducts a Regional Workshop at Haramaya University

 

By: Shemsedin Mohammed/Public & International Relation Directorate

The ISSD (Integrated Seed Sector Development) Ethiopia Programme, Oromia East Unit, organized a one-day consultative regional workshop on 27 October 2015 on the main campus of Haramaya University. The objective of the workshop was to deliberate on hitherto achievements (2009-2015), to gauge the contributions the project made to develop the seed system strategy of the region, and find means to tackle challenges faced in the efforts being made to develop a vibrant and pluralistic seed system in the region.

Over 70 persons participated in the workshop. Participants included representatives of farmers’ seed producers’ cooperatives, farmers’ cooperative unions, zonal and district Bureaus of Agriculture, agricultural experts and development agents from a number of districts in East and West Hararghe Zones, representatives from Wageningen University, Centre for Development and Innovation as well as Programme Management Unit of ISSD Ethiopia in Addis Ababa, employees of the project, and seed experts and researchers of the university.

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Opening the workshop, Prof. Nigusse Dechassa, Vice-President of Research Affairs of the university and coordinator of the project at the university, highlighted the activities of the project underway in the region and the importance that the work bore on developing a vibrant and pluralistic the seed sector in the region. He indicated that over 42 Farmers’ Seed Producers’ Cooperatives were established through the support and mentorship given by the project, and considerable achievements registered. He also pointed out that more than a dozen private seed producers were actively working in seed production in the region, including seeds of staple crops, root and tuber crops, vegetable crops, and forage crops. In this connection, he stressed the need to align and pool efforts of all stakeholders engaged in the seed sector development with the national seed strategy of the government and the Growth and Transformation Plan II of the country.

He also reminded the audience that the ISSD Ethiopia Programme had been organizing regional and national workshops in the previous years too for the purpose of enabling stakeholders to share knowledge and experiences to synergize their efforts to develop the seed sector of the country.

The workshop was kicked off with a presentation on the hitherto achievements of the ISSD Ethiopia programme in general and the Oromia East Unit of the project in particular. A presentation was also made on the challenges faced in the seed sector development of the country as identified by the Ministry of Agriculture. A representative from East Hararghe Zonal Bureau of Agriculture made a presentation on the seed strategy of the region and the county at large in line with the GTP II plan of the country. Representatives of farmers’ seed producers cooperatives also gave anecdotes related to seed production and highlighted their success stories and challenges. In this connection, deliberations were made on the following issues: hitherto achievements of ISSD in addressing seed sector challenges of the region, the main challenges in developing the national seed sector strategy, the regional GTP II targets with respect to seed provision and how the two should be linked to the national seed strategy.  Ideas were also exchanged on how ISSD could support regional governments in achieving their policy objectives related to the seed sector development. Ways to strengthen the position of ISSD in influencing the seed policy agenda were also discussed. The stakeholders that participated in the workshop also exchanged ideas on how own and engage in the next phase of ISSD. The presentations were followed by group and general discussions.

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The outstanding challenges identified during the workshop included shortage of basic seed, low rate of generation of improved crop varieties, low levels of knowledge and skill on ensuring seed quality starting from planting up to harvesting and storage, poor system of seed quality control and maintenance, ravages of pests (e.g spider mite on potato)  and disease in connection with dissemination of seed from region to region within the country, ill-timing of the distribution to users, weak linkage among seed producers, research centres and regional Bureaus of Agriculture, poor system of demand-based seed multiplication, low adherence of some seed producing farmers to  ethics and rules and rules of pertinent to seed production.

Solutions were also suggested to tackle the challenges. These included making efforts to encourage the development of seed enterprises that produce basic seed, supplying seed based on demand and supply scenarios through encouraging and supporting the development of seed unions, supporting primary cooperatives and direct seed marketing agents, strengthening the linkage  between seed value chain actors, conducting regional real seed demand assessment from farmers by bureaus of agriculture, providing training on seed quality maintenance from field up to storage, raising awareness of seed producers on seed production ethics and rules, making regular inspections of seed fields and seed storage, improving access of farmers to seed cleaning machines and seed storage (rent, out grower), capacitating primary seed producers’ cooperatives  by creating linkage with potential donors, increasing linkage among universities, research institutions, seed producers’ cooperatives, private seed producers, and Bureaus of Agriculture.

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Finally, Professor Nigussie Dechassa made a closing remark and thanked the technical and financial supports given by the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture for implementing the project in Ethiopia through the facilitation provided by the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Addis Ababa.

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