The United States government with the Zambian government yesterday commissioned the pilot seed export from Zambia to Mozambique
Public Affairs Officer at the United States Embassy in Zambia Sean McIntosh said the seed exportation is being done through its Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the seed being produced by emerging seed company, Lake Agriculture.
Mr McIntosh stated in statement to ZANIS in Lusaka today that the USAID-funded Feed the Future Southern Africa Seed Trade Project awarded Lake Agriculture a K2 million grant to produce and export 200 metric tons of improved, high-quality hybrid maize seed, under the SADC Harmonized Seed Regulatory System (HSRS).
He stated that with a joint investment of K3.7 million and strict adherence to the regional guidelines, the emerging seed company will ultimately produce 250 metric tons of high-quality seed valued at K7.6 million which will yield 380 percent return on the USAID investment.
Mr McIntosh added that of the total amount produced, 216 metric tons are being exported to neighboring, seed deficit Mozambique, while the remaining 34 metric tons of improved maize seed will be sold on the local Zambian market.
“Through our Seed Trade Project, we are supporting the SADC Secretariat to harmonize the national seed legislation across all 16 Member States with the regional guidelines. Due to its location and ability to produce quality seeds, Zambia is uniquely positioned to provide the ideal seeds for this inaugural export,” the statement read in part.
And USAID Economic Officer Director Adam Norikane observed that the pilot also provide an opportunity for seed companies both large and small to meet guidelines and successfully produce and export improved seed.
Mr Norikane emphasized that the undertaking is important because it allows for meaningful market competition, which ultimately benefits farmers, and plays a major role in moving nations forward on their path to self-reliance.
“Seed is fundamental to our survival and regional economic prosperity. I often say, without seed, there is no agriculture. Without agriculture, there is no food. And without food, there is no human life, and that is something we should all take to heart,” he stressed.
Yesterday, Government in partnership with the United States commissioned the pilot seed export from Zambia to Mozambique.
Seed Certification Institute of Zambia Director Mable Simwanza explained that government has worked hard to put systems in place that have deepened the position as the leading seed producer on the African continent.
Mrs Simwanza pointed out that the above measures are not enough to accomplish the measures but sound policy and strong infrastructure in domestic institutions are required to be equipped to use them to their highest potential.
She hailed the USAID for the technical assistance provided which will spur economic growth.
The Feed the Future Southern Africa Seed Trade Project (Seed Trade Project) is a five-year project designed to increase the availability of high-quality seed of improved varieties to farmers in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, and contribute to increased agricultural productivity and improved food and nutrition security.
The Seed Trade Project provides targeted technical assistance to facilitate implementation of the SADC Harmonized Seed Regulatory System (HSRS), which aims to boost seed trade across the region, integrating smaller and more isolated national seed markets into one larger SADC market.