Biotech Updates

Empowering the Seed Sector in Africa

September 18, 2009

Urgent government measures and increased public and private investment in the seed sector are required for the long term if agriculture is to meet the challenge of food security in the context of population growth and climate change. This was the declaration of the Second World Seed Conference held at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Headquarters in Rome last September 8-10, 2009.

Obongo Nyachae, the CEO of the Seed Traders Association of Kenya (STAK), shared that one key area that touched on Africa (and other developing countries) was on the need for international organizations such as FAO, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, International Union for Protection of New Varieties of Plants, International Seed Testing Association and International Seed Federation to support national seed development initiatives to enable farmers access to improved and quality seed. In addition, seed for relief purposes should be sourced through national seed associations, where they exist, and that priority should be given to improved seed rather than investing in Quality Declared Seed systems even where national legislation exists that fully supports development of formal seed supply systems.

Conference participants included policy makers, government officials, breeding companies, breeders associations, stakeholders (certification agencies, seed analysts, seed traders, technology companies, and academic institutions), farmers' organizations, consumer organizations and international breeding and seed research centers.

For more information, contact To download the press release on the World Seed Conference, visit