Golden Sibanda Senior Business Reporter
SEED Co Zimbabwe managing director and Africa Seed Trade Association president Dennis Zaranyika says developing fit for purpose seed technology is key to addressing the problem of food security in Africa.
Mr Zaranyika said challenges facing the seed industry were many, but not insurmountable. He said AFSTA believed in vast opportunities in Africa and role of trade in seed to tackle hunger in Africa.
The Seed Co Zim managing director said this in his welcome remarks at the 2017 AFSTA Congress in Dakar, Senegal on Tuesday.
“We see a future for seed trade and through it answers to the problems of hunger, nutrition, markets and production,” said Mr Zaranyika.
Senegal’s Secretary for Agriculture and Rural Equipment, Dr Dogo Seck, International Seed Federation president Jean Christophe Gouache and representatives of the national, regional and international seed organisations were among delegates.
Mr Zaranyika said that AFSTA sees an opportunity to make a difference because it is committed to Africa’s agriculture-led development agenda.
“Where others see increasing hunger in Africa, we see an opportunity to contribute to increasing food production and feeding Africa’s growing population through improved access to better seed.
“Where others see infrastructural problems, we see an opportunity to work with other players, positively influencing policy and priorities and improving our distribution models,” he said.
Mr Zaranyika said while others see the challenges of climate change, seed developers saw vast opportunity to make “our research, breeding, production, extension support and market fit for purpose and relevant to the felt-needs of the African farmers. This belief and commitment to Africa’s cause, he said, started by appreciating the efforts of the African Union in advocating for agricultural development, as endorsed in Maputo in 2003 by African Heads of State through the adoption of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).
The heads of state emphasised on agriculture and agriculture-led development to improve food security and nutrition; wealth and job creation, empowering women and enabling expansion of exports.
The leaders further recommitted to the principles of CAADP through the Malabo Declaration whose goals were enhancing investment finance in agriculture and ending hunger in Africa by 2025.
They also pledged to halve poverty by 2025; boost intra-African trade in agriculture and services, enhance resilience of livelihoods and production systems to climate change and other related risks.
Mr Zaranyika said AFSTA’s priorities were not just a viable seed trade, but sustainable and viable agriculture production and value chains.