COMESA has become the first regional trading bloc to launch an online seed label verification system in Africa and globally. The system will assist the region eliminate cases of fake seed and boost trade in quality and improved certified seed.
The region has also scored another first by introducing COMESA Regional Certificates to be issued by National Seed Authorities and this is also expected to boost seed trade in the 21 countries.
Pedigree Global Strategy Director Mr Selorm Branttie has since commended COMESA for the launch which has been done through the Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa (ACTESA) Seed programme.
He was speaking at the COMESA Secretariat during the two-day training held on 24th – 25th April 2019 for seed companies on ordering, use and trading using the COMESA Seed labels and Certificates.
“This is the first time that seed certificates and verification of the seeds will be done electronically, and the farmer will be able to trace the source of the seed and authenticity of the seed without difficulty,’’ Mr Branttie added.
He emphasized the need to eliminate the trade and use of fake seed saying it has greatly contributed to the poor performance of 80 million small-holder farmers and food insecurity in the COMESA region.
Mr Branttie, who conducted the training, said the seed labels and certificates will promote the use of genuine seed and eventual elimination of fake seed from circulation.
ACTESA is implementing this programme through the COMESA Seed Harmonisation Implementation Plan (COMSHIP). It is a region-wide initiative meant to harmonize trade in certified seed by having one common label and certification system. For every seed package that will have a COMESA sticker, it means the source of that seed has been documented and can be tracked by the receiving end.
Assistant Secretary General for Programmes Amb. Dr Kipyego Cheluget who was represented at the training by the Director of Industry and Agriculture Mr Thierry Kalonji said COMESA will work with National Seed Authorities to ensure that fake seed is eradicated from the market.