The Ethiopian National Seminar is one of ten national seminars organised to discuss findings from 2 years of ISSD Africa action research, as well as identify future areas of focus on a national and continental level. The seminar took place on March 26th, 2016 at the Beshale Hotel, Addis Ababa.
Arising from the group discussions and plenary session, a number of issues emerged that could inform the comprehensive phase of ISSD Africa, some of which have been shared by Dawit Alemu. With respect to Support to CAADP, ASBP and the seed sector development, lack of clarity in budget allocation at various levels of the government, governance, roles and responsibilities and limited capacity for implementation were noted challenges in the seed sector development leading to missed opportunities for achieving the targets proposed in the CAADP’s Maputo declaration and re-affirmed in the Malabo declaration. A clear role for ISSD Africa could be to facilitate the documentation of evidence on missed opportunities, identification of best-case scenarios and other country experiences on how to deal with these, sensitization of relevant high-level decision makers and follow-ups to ensure the mandates are achieved.
Participants of the Ethiopian National Seminar
With respect to common challenges to entrepreneurship (TWG 1), a number of mechanisms for quality assurance were discussed, including,self-control, truthfully labeled, group control, QDS, and Certification, each with their advantages and disadvantages. It was noted that quality criteria and protocols for vegetatively propagated crops and seed from informal as well as intermediary seed systems were generally lacking and most of the quality control mechanisms (for the formal seed) were centralized. In addition, implementation capacity was lacking to give adequate services.
In Ethiopia seed marketing is centralized and seed producers are neither accountable for the poor quality seed they supply, nor awarded for their good quality seed. This affected entrepreneurship development in the seed sector of Ethiopia. On one hand farmers started looking for quality and were observed that they pay for quality. On the other hand, this opportunity was not used by government to develop the enterprenuer capacity of companies involved in seed sector.
An assessment of missed opportunities in the seed entrepreneurship could be an entry point for the comprehensive phase of ISSD Africa. For example, a gap analysis of the seed sector development to understand the challenges facing seed entrepreneurs (capacity,incentives, competencies, cost of doing business, yield gaps) could be undertaken. Although there is general talk about private sector incentive, this has never been specific to the seed sector affecting entrepreneurs to enter the seed sector. This could be one area that ISSD may work in terms of advocacy so that government make clear directives to incentivise the private sector to engage in the seed sector.
Other proposals from the plenary that the Comprehensive phase could consider include:
- Performing an advocacy role to equip key stakeholders with appropriate and relevant information
- support for the provision of enabling environment for doing seed business (e.g., facilitating cross-border trade and support for the implementation of the regionally harmonized seed regulations)
- decentralization of the seed certification system and training and accreditation of more quality inspectors
- capacity building and support for public-private partnerships in seed quality assurance
- promotion and awareness creation for early generation seed (EGS) processes