Transformative agenda for seed sector developed, endorsed and adopted

Across 2018, regional and national seed sector stakeholders have engaged intensively, shaping an action agenda to transform the seed sector.

One recent key workshop saw MoA State Minister H.E. Sani Reddi commend stakeholders for their collaborative efforts which contributed to an action agenda being formally adopted as a guide for national seed sector transformation.

Since 2016, ISSD and partners have employed a holistic, coordinated approach to drive seed sector transformation. With a jointly-formulated future vision for the seed sector guiding the way forward, various events and workshops have marked important milestones and agreements.

Embarking on transformation
In April 2018, 28 participants including officials from the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and the regional state Bureaus of Agriculture in Amhara, Oromia, SNNPR and Tigray; managers, directors and/or their deputies of regional input regulatory authorities, research institutes, and public seed enterprises; and the Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) participated in a workshop on Seed Sector Governance.

During the workshop participants develop this shared, transformative vision for the Ethiopian seed sector. Further, participants revised strategies on how best to transform and govern the seed sector in their regions, developed regional seed road maps and reflected on differentiated roles and responsibilities in governing and coordinating the seed sector.

Meeting the 100 Days Challenge
The workshop produced specific recommendations and actions for participants to take home to their regions for continued development. In November, a high-level follow-up workshop was convened to refine and synthesise these identified and improved actions. These would be presented for consideration and recommendation to the newly appointed State Minister of the Ministry of Agriculture, H.E. Sane Reddi.

The workshop came as part of the national momentum created when the new Prime Minister of Ethiopia, H.E. Abiy Ahmed posed, ‘The 100 Days Challenge’ in which various sectors were challenged to collaboratively develop transformative agendas. The framing of the challenge gave added impetus to the November workshop and a clear opportunity to ensure that seed sector stakeholders’ recommendations and agenda would have an audience at the highest levels.

Setting priorities
Circa 30 participants, representing Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), regional core groups, the federal seed unit, research institutes, Bureaus of Agriculture, seed regulatory bodies, seed enterprises, ATA, and NGOs (GIZ), attended the ISSD-facilitated workshop. Participants analysed and prioritised proposed interventions for their immediate importance to the national seed sector transformation agenda, and presented in the presence of the state minister.

Welcoming the energy, enthusiasm and collaborative spirit in the workshop, H.E. State Minister Sani Reddi noted that “with the recent changes within the Ministry, this is an ideal time to propose new ways of doing things to bring about transformational change”. The State Minister encouraged continued collaboration, with increased engagement with the private sector through the Ethiopian Seed Association (ESA) and as well as consulting the national seed advisory group.

This would help to address knowledge gaps, enrich recommendations and improve ownership of roles and responsibilities. The State Minister confirmed that he would carefully consider the outcomes of the consultative process and use this to determine the government’s next steps, in the short and long term.

Building on the agenda
Following the advice and request of the State Minister, and based on the priorities outlined in the November workshop, ISSD facilitated the development of a seed sector transformation agenda, to which the national seed advisory group and the ESA contributed. This national seed sector transformation agenda document was accepted as a guiding document on which future efforts to transform the sector should be based.

As a next step it was decided to review the draft seed policy, based on the current developments and the newly developed agenda. MoA organized a group to review the seed policy and has appointed ISSD Ethiopia director Amsalu Ayana as the chair of this task force.