The minister for agriculture, animal and fisheries Vincent Ssempijja has launched the dissemination of the national seed policy and strategy which will enable the streaming of the seed sector plus also getting quality seeds for farmers.
Many households in Uganda derive their livelihoods from agriculture, however the inevitability, inaccessibility of quality seeds has always kept many in poverty because of the low yields due to lack of regulation to guide the promotion of quality seeds hence giving way for many seed companies to supply fake seeds to farmers.
While launching the dissemination of the national seed policy and strategy which was supported by the Integrated Seed Sector Development plus project (ISSD UGANDA) with funding from the embassy of the kingdom of Netherlands at Kalungi district headquarters.
The minster says despite the drafting of the seed policy, little had been done to ensure that the policy guidelines are implemented in all districts having extension workers. “Am happy to launch the dissemination of the national seed policy and strategy.
The minister noted that “It’s a big landmark in the agriculture sector since many of our famers where not being guided on how to get quality seeds and with this policy our farmers are bound to increase on their yields since they will be guided on how to get good seeds for planting”.
The agriculture minister further says, seed is the single most important and least expensive among the inputs needed by farmers. Without good seed, it is difficult to put together an economic case for farmers to use fertilizers and pesticides.
The mandate of seed quality assurance lies with the department of crop inspection and certification in the ministry of agriculture, animal industry and fisheries.
According to the commissioner crop inspection and certification in the ministry of agriculture, animal and fisheries industry Mr. Paul Mwambu says, they have made several strides in improving the enabling environment, through development and implementation of policy, legal and enforcement frameworks to address seed quality including the National seed policy and seed strategy.
Some of the challenges despite the successes, there is perceived inadequate stakeholder awareness on policy that affect the seed industry linked to quality seed and which need implementation for quality seed, limited awareness by various stakeholders in the sector on existing laws, regulations and procedures to enhance compliance, the issue of the current penalties in the seed laws are not deterrent to safeguard the industry and reduce incidences of fake seeds.
The ministry of Agriculture, animal industry and fisheries is reviewing the current seed laws and regulations to institute punitive penalties to safe guard the industry and to reduce incidences of fake seed according to commissioner Paul Mwambu. He says there is need to develop regulations to implement the plant variety protection act, in addition the EAC seed bill is in progress and when concluded it could lead to amendment of the current seed laws and regulations in member countries.
Upgrading the main reference seed testing lab and get accreditation by ISTA, increased post market compliance through increasing the number of field inspectors as well as regular conducting of post control testing.
The ISSD Uganda aims to contribute to the development of a vibrant pluralize and market Oriented seed sector providing over 300,000 small holder farmers access to affordable quality seed of superior varieties and strengthen seed sector institution and environment.
ISSD works across the entire seed value chain and it also recognizes the importance of all seed.
The project is implemented by wageningen center for the Development innovation in Partnership with the support from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Uganda.