FAO workshop highlights Tropical Legumes III seed system initiatives in Africa
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) selected several locations of the Tropical Legumes III (TL III) project to illustrate the learning of good practices in crop breeding and seed delivery. It facilitated a three-day program in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, focused on the ‘Use of quality seed and adoption of improved crop varieties’, for agricultural experts from eight African countries: Cameroon, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Mozambique, Rwanda and Zambia.
The organizations identified for this visit were three government institutions: Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR), Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation agency (ATA), Ethiopian Agricultural Business Corporation (EABC); and three CGIAR centers: International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT).
As a result of the field tours to seed production areas and presentations on work done on the seed systems in Ethiopia, the representatives took away the following lessons:
Community-based clustered seed production can effectively complement the formal seed sector.
- It is a viable option to promote often-neglected ‘orphan’ legume crops such as chickpea.
- Intervention by organizations such as ICARDA and ICRISAT, working with EIAR, has strengthened farmer organizations’ capacity to produce quality seed (at least QDS).
A few farmer organizations have grown to PLC (company) levels.
The key message that emerged was that by increasing availability and adoption of improved varieties, seeds and associated production packages, productivity of legumes in the drought-prone areas of sub-Saharan Africa was being boosted.
During the tours, held on 12, 13 and 16 October 2017, the visitors were accompanied by two senior experts from FAO. Dr Asnake Fikre coordinated this visit on behalf of TL III, ICRISAT.
Project: Tropical Legumes III
Partners: International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ethiopian Institute for Agricultural Research (EIAR), NARS from the selected eight countries and ICRISAT
Funder: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation