Following the successful development and launch of the online seed catalogue and sharing platform for the SADC Seed Centre, the Trade Hub is now facilitating the promotion of approved seed varieties throughout the region.
Most recently the Trade Hub has facilitated a partnership between Syngenta/MRI and Mobovane Marketing in Swaziland to support the introduction of a regionally approved and released maize seed variety into Swaziland.
Rather than requiring 3-5 years of testing to determine yield, quality, resistance to disease, and other characteristics, the Harmonized Seed Regulations enable Syngenta/MRI to release the seed in Swaziland because it has already been approved in two other SADC countries. This process reduces the time and cost of new seed introduction while promoting regional agricultural integration under the SADC harmonized seed regulations.
Syngenta’s vision is “to raise smallholder yields while conserving water, soil and ecosystems.” A small testing pilot is now being conducted to assess fresh cob quality from the perspective of the traders and consumers, after which one or more of the seven different varieties being tested will be widely released to Swaziland. The work has been initiated by MRI/Syngenta in Zambia with technical/agronomic support and monitoring provided by the South African Commercial Unit of Syngenta. The Trade Hub will continue to support the activity in the future by providing technical assistance to promote the regionally-released seed varieties.
Faster and more efficient seed release throughout SADC increases the number of options available for small-scale farmers to improve yield and introduces more competition in the market. The activity supports the Trade Hub’s goal of introducing new technology and innovation in agricultural value chains.