Ethiopian Seed Association (ESA) organized its Annual General Assembly in Addis Ababa on December 26, 2016 to assess its progress, share national seed sector development experiences in the public and private sector in the area of production, processing and marketing and identify challenges and set strategic focuses for further action. The conference was under taken with the financial support of ISSD under the thematic area of “Ensuring quality seed supply for improved crop production and productivity“. 55 participants were available on the conference, the composition of which includes members, nonmember companies, research, development partners including BENEFIT-ISSD team, coop unions etc.
Welcome speech was made by Mr. Melaku Admassu, Board Chairman of ESA. where he highlighted the objectives of the workshop, the progress of ESA and its future focus in the development of the seed sector. He highlighted the need for strengthening the technical services to its members and the industry, improve communication through electronics and various channels, organize appropriate seed training programs and workshops for members, support/strengthen institutional linkages between private sector and different stakeholders in the seed value chain Strengthening the Association’s global seed contacts, partnership, joint venture etc. and make a ESA financially sustainable.
The conference was officially addressed by His Excellency, State Minster, MOANR, Ato Tesfaye Mengistu. His Excellency appreciated the effort of such association that focuses to address one of the critical challenges of crop production and productivity that small hold farmers are facing today as seed contributes about 50% of crop productivity, so the need to work hard to realize the GTP II target in agriculture significantly lies on seed sector. His Excellency underlined the importance of the forum to address such critical challenges of small holder farmers as smallholders’ agriculture will also continue to be the major source of agricultural growth and the share of private sector is also expected to rise as one of the sources of agriculture growth in the country. And hence, he underscored members of the association are expected to strengthen their capacity and avail quality seed to the growing demand of this development sector, where he appreciated the effort of ESA to undertake such action in such annual conference.
Different papers with valuable information were shared on the forum on the following titles:
- Progress of ESA and its strategic focus
- Role of AFSTA in the African seed industry in particular to Ethiopia
- Variety development and early generation seed status in Ethiopia
- Progress in the Ethiopia seed law and regulation and in the regional seed trade harmonization
- Seed marketing opportunities and challenges in Ethiopia
- Opportunities and challenges of agriculture input distribution: Oromia experiences
- Status of MNLD diseases and its challenges in maize seed system
- ISSD contribution to the commercial seed sector
- Availability and advantage of microfinance in the national seed system
The conference summarized the critical priority issues that need to be resolved at national seed policy level, at ESA level and at company level in order for the private seed sector to play a meaningful role in the development of the Ethiopia seed industry. In order to realize the efforts, it was noted that,
- Individual companies are expected to pay serious attention in managing their seed business especially in the production, processing and marketing of their products.
- ESA board members have to seriously look through the policy and institutional issues agreed in the conferences and take it forward.
- The policy issues could be shared with concerned stake holders and brought to the attention of the MoANR for final action.
- ESA has to organize its human resources and follow the decision of the conferences with strict time bound activity.