Different stakeholders are working to improve the seed system but lack strong partnership for synergetic effect.Recognizing this, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for collaboration was signed between BENEFIT-ISSD Ethiopia Program and MoANR-AGP at federal level.
In a similar manner, partnership agreement was signed between Mekelle University (MU-ISSD) and Tigray Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development-Agricultural Growth Program (BoARD-AGP). Its aim is to support the development of seed system that ensures the availability, accessibility, adaptability and affordability of quality seed.
The MoU is believed to help both programs to integrate and align their development interventions for the efficient use of resources and sharing knowledge which would maximize the benefits of smallholder farmers in Tigray region. Based on the partnership agreement, all AGP staff (at region and wereda level) and MU-ISSD staff discussed and internalized the partnership activities and developed a joint plan for 2018.
|No||Wereda||Newly established||Existing||New+ existing||Under establishment||Total|
Table 1: Status of CIGs intervention weredas in Tigray – “New” means established by AGP in 2009 E.C and which have started seed production, “Existing” means formerly established but get support from AGP, “Under establishment” means groups that will be established in 2010/11 E.C by AGP
A rapid assessment was made to identify the status, challenges and opportunities of SPCs and Common Interest Groups (CIGs) in 13 AGP weredas. Based on the assessment result, discussion was made with experts and coordinators of wereda agricultural offices at a workshop organized by BoARD-AGP. In the workshop different issues were presented, questions raised and discussion held on seed production, seed regulation, direct seed marketing, study result on CIG/SPC status, input supply and demand process. 181 (7 females) participants composed of WoARD office head, coordinators (input, extension, and cooperative), in some cases input and/or seed multiplication experts came from 35 weredas were attended the workshop.
A half day was devoted for group discussion on how to improve the regional performance of input demand estimation and the supply process of inputs, how to improve the implementation of DSM and how to strengthen the partnership of AGP and ISSD in the 13 AGP weredas to upgrade the CIGs to SPC model.
It was agreed that wereda AGP focal persons and coordinators were assigned to support CIGs to become SPCs with technical backing of ISSD staff and wereda cooperative experts. However, the main challenge and points of discussion was how CIGs organized under irrigation cooperatives could be upgraded to SPCs since they are suitable for seed production but could not be licensed legally as SPCs at the same time. Finally, it was recommended that an arrangement should be designed concerning how to involve irrigation cooperatives into the seed multiplication scheme to tap their potentials in the region.
Photos: Seed multiplication training in Shire Endaselassie, 2018
Similarly, in collaboration with ISSD, AGP, BoARD and the regulatory case team a capacity building ToT was organized for Wereda and zonal experts so as to support and train CIGs to be professional and licensed seed producers. Accordingly, a total of 57 (17 female) wereda and zonal experts were trained on quality seed production, seed inspection and regulation, seed marketing, organizational leadership, business plan, and entrepreneurship.
Consecutively, following the ToT, training was organized to SPCs and CIGs to strengthen farmers’ capacity on quality seed production, seed inspection and regulation, seed marketing, organizational leadership, business plan, and entrepreneurship. A total of 100 farmers from 13 CIG/SPCs had participated in the training which took place at Maichew, Wukro and Shire-Endaselassie towns.