Tunisia has become the 19th COMESA Member State to launch the Regional Seed Harmonisation Implementation Plan (COMSHIP). The overall goal of COMSHIP is to implement the COMESA Seed Trade Harmonisation Regulations which are expected to enhance seed production, reliability, improve seed trade including increasing the competitiveness of the seed industry in the southern and east African region.
The launch was facilitated by the Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa (ACTESA), a specialized agency of COMESA mandated by Heads of State and Governments to integrate smallholder farmers into domestic, regional and international markets through an improved policy environment, expanded market facilities, services and capacity building.
Speaking in Tunis during the launch in December 2021, Director of Agriculture and Industry at COMESA Secretariat Mrs Providence Mavubi commended Tunisia for the commitment to regional integration programmes adding that other Member States would benefit from that country’s expertise in agriculture and livestock farming.
“We commend the government of Tunisia’s commitment to COMESA’s agenda and we will continue to encourage exchange visits with other Member States in order for the region to learn from each other and develop the agriculture sector for the benefit of its people,” Mrs Mavubi said.
The event in Tunis also enabled the COMESA team to create awareness on COMSHIP and the Seed Trade Harmionisation regulations, highlight the status of COMSHIP at regional and national level, distribute the publications on the COMESA Seed Trade Harmonisation Regulation and it allowed local delegates to develop a national roadmap on the alignment of the Tunisian seed laws to the regional seed harmonisation regulations.
The participants agreed to conduct wider consultative meetings with the stakeholders such as farmer organisations, civil society, non-governmental organisations dealing with seed production and marketing, seed companies, agro-industry and institutions involved in research among others.
Tunisia is expected to adopt the COMESA Seed Trade Harmonisation Regulations by June 2022.
The COMSHIP is a framework that describes the implementation plans and modalities required to effectively implement, monitor and ensure compliance and execution within the COMESA Member States.
Tunisia joins Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, DR Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Eswatini, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.