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Collective Action News Updates from agricultural research in Africa March 2010 Issue No 18 Regional partnerships
Collective Action News Updates from agricultural research in Africa March 2010 Issue No 18 Regional partnerships

Collective Action News

Updates from agricultural research in Africa

March 2010

Issue No 18

Regional partnerships to strengthen the seed industry

Collective Action News Updates from agricultural research in Africa March 2010 Issue No 18 Regional partnerships

ASIEAs objectives include:

In early March, several CGIAR Centres were involved in discussions to formulate a new initiative, the Alliance for the Seed Industry in East and Southern Africa (ASIESA).

The initiative will take a coordinated approach to addressing the constraints to developing a vibrant commercial seed industry in East and Southern Africa, with the aim of improving the use of quality seed in the region.

ASIESA will operate under the African Seed

Trade Association (AFSTA) a non-profit

organization which promotes the use of quality

seed to improve agricultural production and therefore food security across Africa.

Enhancing company and seed value chain performance to ensure farmers have affordable, timely and reliable access to adapted genetics and traits in high quality seeds and planting materials

Effectively representing the interests of African seed value chain enterprises and industry in national, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and African agricultural development dialogue

Providing farmers with access to an improved choice of high quality seed as well as access to knowledge in how to use seeds to increase farm productivity.

The initiative is supported by CIMMYT, ICRISAT, CIP, CIAT, and Bioversity through Collective Action’s Flagship Program 3 on Conservation and Enhancement of Agricultural Biodiversity for Improved Agricultural Production. All are actively engaged in developing sustainable seed supply systems involving both public and private sector partners.

A broad spectrum of other seed stakeholders are involved, including local and international companies and NGOs dealing with seed and other inputs and representative of the African Seed and Biotechnology Programme of the African Union.

AFSTA is currently finalizing a memorandum of understanding with COMESA to support

seed regulatory harmonization in the COMESA region among other things. This will build on work already done through other programs that have involved CGIAR centers as an important source of germplasm for seed entrepreneurs.

The ASIESA initiative comes at a time when Flagship Program 3 is looking into the inadequate and often non-existent interaction between institutions responsible for the conservation of crops, trees, livestock and biodiversity as well as those organizations that use genetic resources to improve agricultural production. The program is also considering the interactions and trade-offs between enhanced and traditional genetic resources within the context of smallholder farmers’ management systems of such resources at the community or landscape scale.

This new initiative provides a good opportunity for collective action between ASIESA, AFSTA, COMESA, the seed industry, seed value chain entrepreneurs and CG centers in the application of technology and relevant information to stakeholders for credible business and increased food security.

Article by Wilson Marandu (Bioversity) and Richard Jones (ICRISAT), Coordinators of Flagship Program 3

The Collective action underpinning the Alliance for the Seed Industry in East and Southern Africa (ASIESA) initiative involves IFPRI, CIMMYT, ICRISAT, ILRI, IRRI, World Agroforestry Centre, CIP, the seed industry, seed value chain entreprises

This document has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union and with the technical support of IFAD. The views expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of IFAD and the European Union


Global Futures project launch in Washington

The Global Futures project was launched in Washington DC in early March.

Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the project aims to provide enhanced tools for

evaluating the benefits of promising agricultural

technologies, investments, and policy reform opportunities within the ever-changing global agricultural environment.

The project will be coordinated by IFPRI and currently involves CIMMYT, ICRISAT, ILRI, IRRI, World Agroforestry Centre, and CIP. It will also work closely with HarvestChoice and the Challenge Programme on Climate Change and Food Security.

Using the IMPACT model developed at IFPRI, project partners will identify key drivers of global environmental and economic changes and quantify the consequences of these changes for the world’s most important crops, livestock, forests and other natural resources. The team will also enrich the current modeling capability to assess the impacts of a broader range of interventions for wider use within and outside the CGIAR.

Genetic finger printing

During the March meeting to inform potential implementing partners of the ASIESA initiative,

plans for CIMMYT to do genetic finger printing

of all released varieties originating from their materials were discussed. Participants echoed the need to seek the support

of the CGIAR to do genetic finger printing of

all varieties released from their materials in order to assist efforts of the seed industry to curb fraudulent large scale sale of grain as seed particularly in the name of seed aid.

CGMAP Ongoing Research in Africa Updates

Find an updated list of IWMI’s research projects

which address a range of water and related issues in the map today (http://ongoing-research.


COLLECTIVE ACTION NEWS is a periodical e-publication of the CGIAR’s Regional Collective Action in Eastern and Southern Africa, hosted at the International Livestock Research Institute and the World Agroforestry Centre, both of which are supported by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR)

Newsletter team:

Kate Longley, Michael Hailu, Rebecca Selvarajah-Jaffery, Kate Langford, Yvonne Otieno and Reagan Sirengo

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