The USAID Southern Africa Trade Hub assessed the seed industry in Mozambique during the week of April 13-17, 2015, interviewing seed industry stakeholders on the national seed regulatory environment and progress on domestication of the SADC Harmonised Seed Regulations System (HSRS). Meetings were held with both public sector and private sector representatives, including the nascent Mozambique Seed Industry Association and the Scaling Seeds and Technologies Partnership, which was jointly established by USAID and the Alliance for the Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).
The National Seed Authority has indicated that SADC-HSRS systems are in place in Mozambique for the registration of the products under the SADC Label, but the system is yet to be tested. Testing will require processing a request for a seed that is already registered in Mozambique for registration in the SADC system. Lab resources (including equipment and human resources for ISTA accreditation capacity) and human capacity for inspections remain a challenge, but the national decree now in effect allows for third party, government-authorized inspectors at the company level, similar to other major seed producing countries in the region.
Key themes emerged during the week’s assessment, including the need for more accurate and timely information flow across the sector about the size and value of the market in grain crops and staples as well as horticulture seeds. It was evident that a regular forum and electronic tools could ease data flow and provide important market data for use by all seed sector actors, development partners, and even investors.
In general there is a need for regular communication between government and the private sector. A robust industry representative body, such as a Seed Trade Association, is required to adequately represent large, medium, and small seed businesses, both domestically and those with headquarters outside Mozambique. The early establishment of such an organization, for example an enhanced MOSTA (Mozambique Association of Seed Trading Companies), is likely to require external resources for secretariat function, at least in the first 3-5 years before phasing out to become self-funded.
The week culminated in an information-sharing and consultative dialogue session focused on the emerging seed industry. The well-attended event included participants from local and foreign companies, governments, private consultants, and development partner representatives, including from the Embassy of the Netherlands, USAID Mozambique, and Southern Africa Feed the Future. In addition to a review of current SADC-HSRS status and local domestication, delegates heard from the Seed Department Director and the USAID SPEED program.