Effectiveness of seed quality assurance in Amhara region

The effectiveness of other inputs like fertilizer and irrigation depend largely on using quality seed. Several lines of evidence indicate that nearly 50% of crop productivity relies on the availability and utilization of quality seed. Poor seed quality is causing significant livelihood insecurity, especially among smallholder farmers. All along the seed value chain there are technical and organizational capacity problems that affect effective production and distribution of quality seed in Amhara regional states of Ethiopia. Until very recently, the quality of seed produced by different seed producers in the region was poorly enforced.

To contribute to improving quality seed production and supply, an autonomous seed and other agricultural input quality and quarantine authority was established in 2013 in the region. The authority has four branch offices and one newly under construction seed laboratory to undertake seed field inspection and assure seed quality in the region.

Currently the authority has tried to full fill both human and material resources, which are required for effective implementation of seed quality assurance. In addition, the technical capacity of seed quality inspectors and laboratory technicians have been enhanced through different tailor trainings. The authority has developed different guide lines, which are important to ensure seed quality in the region.

Similarly, they have been creating awareness of seed producers about the seed law and regulation in order to help strengthening internal quality mechanisms and create common understanding in enforcement of seed law and its regulations as well as directives. The seed producers have been trained on seed law and regulations by the authority in order to produce quality seed and create accountability and responsibility in relation to seed quality problems.

The capacity of the authority has been enhanced to control seed quality through field inspection, laboratory test and outgrow test to ensure seed quality is distributed to farmers. Similarly, the quality assurance is being carried out both at seed production and seed marketing levels. The authority is conducting seed outlet to ensure seed quality.

Hence, the authority is highly effective to ensure seed quality in the region. As the result, the quality of seed produced and supplied to farmers has been  improving since 2013 as compared to the years before the establishment of the authority. The improvement is associated with independence of the authority in terms of logistics, human resource hiring and deployment and organization leadership as well as budgeting.

In addition, there was no interference from the regional bureau of agriculture as opposed to past practices.  Moreover, regional seed laboratories have developed better capacity and capability to undertake external seed quality control and support the seed producers to undertake internal quality control.

In summary, the authority is undertaking effective seed quality assurance by enforcing national seed laws, regulations, standards and procedures as well as by encouraging seed producers to have strong internal quality control mechanisms. Hence, the quality of seed produced and distributed to farmers is improving as compared to the previous years in the region.