An agricultural expert on Tuesday called for good policies to enable Africa’s seed sector to realize its potential for economic growth.
Lava Kumar, head of germplasm health unit and virologist at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, said suitable policies could help the countries guard against the increased invasive pest species that have been ravaging agricultural sector.
“The pests have become a bottleneck in seed trade in the continent and globally hence the need for evidence based policies and not excessive ones for the sub sector to lead in the continent’s economic growth,” Kumar told a seed forum in the coastal city of Mombasa.
Kumar noted that all the countries and regions should work towards harmonizing seed trade policies as is the case within other continents.
The scientist noted that the existing policies in individual countries are insufficient and are unable to lead the countries to prosperity yet the seed sub sector has a future in the continent.
He commended West African countries under Economic Commission for West African States for harmonizing seed trade within the member states.
Kumar said that the policy enables the countries to trade with ease without hindrance from the receiving country.
“The move has helped the countries access suitable and quality seeds that have helped improve productivity,” he added.
The scientist further said that the continent must reinforce its surveillance against the entry of sub standard seeds to avoid the incoming of pests that has cost the continent dearly in the past years.
He said that farmers need to be educated in advance to be able to detect pests in the farms even as scientists detect it from the laboratories. Enditem