MOMBASA, Kenya, March 6 (Xinhua) -- Kenya on Wednesday urged regional economic blocs to finalize a tripartite agreement on easing cross border trade in seeds.
Hamadi Boga, principal secretary for agricultural research in the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation, said that once the tripartite agreements are finalized, farmers across the region will have improved access to quality and certified seeds.
"The agreement should ensure that we maintain excellent seed trade and movement by protecting intellectual property alongside phytosanitary matters," said Boga at a pan African seed forum in the coastal city of Mombasa.
He urged the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, Southern Africa Development Community and East African Community to act fast to help meet the continental trade agreement and food security plan.
Boga said that studies have shown that in cases where certified seeds are adopted and planted, yields increased by about one and half times hence leading to poverty reduction and transformation of livelihoods.
The official said that there is need to improve performance of the seed sector in the continent, adding that Africa's share in the global seed trade is relatively small.
He urged African policymakers to harmonize phytosanitary measures for seed in order to facilitate their free movement across borders.
Boga called for encouraging investment in seed business in the member states, increasing access to existing varieties in the countries and stimulating the breeding and availability of improved seed varieties.
He said that all stakeholders in the seed industry must be conversant with the harmonized regulations to enhance seed trade in the regional blocs.
"Seed companies should take advantage of the harmonized seed regulations to widen and promote competitive and sustainable markets for crop seeds within their regions," said Boga.
He noted that investments in irrigation is key to boosting food production amid shocks linked to climate change.
Boga said that farmers should be encouraged to use drought tolerant and certified seeds in order to attain food security.