The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), supported by the Feed the Future Southern Africa Seed Trade Project with technical direction from the USAID Southern Africa Trade and Investment Hub, opened the SADC Seed Technical Meeting 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Chairperson Thabo Ramashala from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and Crops Officer Esaiah Tjelele from the SADC Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Directorate (FANR) welcomed over 100 representatives from National Seed Authorities (NSAs), National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPOs), national biosafety clearinghouses, and seed trade associations from all 15 SADC Member States along with private sector seed and agriculture companies, international organizations, research institutes, and civil society stakeholders. USAID/Southern Africa Mission Director John Groarke delivered the closing remarks to the four-day regional meeting.
Representatives gathered for the plenary to review progress on execution of the SADC Harmonized Seed Regulations (HSR) and to address other pressing seed trade, phytosanitary, and biosecurity issues facing Member States. Participants also conducted a site visit to the Seed Testing Services of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in Pretoria.
A number of critical regional seed interventions were addressed including updating the existing SADC Pest List to address growing challenges like the Fall Army Worm; evaluating sustainable business models for the SADC Seed Centre; and, exploring the role of UPOV (International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants) to encourage breeding of new plant varieties.Additionally, SADC convened a meeting of the SADC Seed Committee. The SADC Seed Committee is responsible for supervising the SADC Seed Centre and includes representatives of national seed authorities, national plant protection organizations, the private sector, and the SADC Secretariat.