Q & A on ISSD-Ethiopia seed alert briefing in relation to COVID-19, May 2020

Q. What is ISSD-Ethiopia seed alert?

A. ISSD-Ethiopia seed alert is a document that outlines COVID-19 related major challenges and urgent actions needed in the Ethiopian seed sector, based on virtual surveys and focus group discussions with various stakeholders. It outlines the major alters, their impacts, actions required, stakeholders involved, and a responsible body to take the initiatives. The effort is designed and initiated by Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation (WCDI) and ISSD Ethiopia Program to raise awareness on the situation and its impact of COVID on the seed sector.

Q. How was the seed alert produced?

A. The quick scan was conducted at country level through rapid remote survey and focus group discussions (FGDs). A total of 45 panelists, representing government, research, seed company, service delivery and farmer organizations answered questions delivered in a 15 minute survey either online or on an application on their telephone, in which 75% of the panelists responded. The survey covers the full range of seed sector functions and support services. A summary of the results, with a focus on alert areas, copping strategies and identification of responsible stakeholders produced and validated for each of the identified by two FGDs, focusing on maize and wheat seed system.

Q. When was the first alert produced and how often are they produced?

A. The first seed alert in Ethiopia was produced in first week of May. Reiteration will be done at least monthly for the full duration of the crisis.

Q. How and with whom is the outcome shared?

A. In line with emerging lock-down restrictions the outcome was mostly shared through digital means. Various communication tools including WCDI and BENEFIT website, social media, blogs, video messages and portals are used to share the outcomes. Video conferencing and selective meetings with precaution were held to ensure proper action is taken in a timely manner. In addition, the outcome was shared with members of the panelists and FGD members to disseminate and share further with a wider audience.

Q. Who attended the first Ethiopia debriefing?

A. The debriefing to share the first outcome of the alert was held on 15 May 2020, in the presence of two state ministers of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Director General of the Ethiopian Institute of Agriculture, and Senior Director of Production and Productivity of the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency.

Q. What were the major issues and decisions during the briefing?

A. Over all, MoA was extremely happy and appreciative of the effort and confirmed the alerts identified were pertinent. Major issues and decisions focused on expediting EGS contract signing for demand-driven production, cascading the debriefing for regional stakeholders and decision makers, supporting seed producer enterprises, ensuring efficient seed distribution with no seed carry-over, finalizing the seed digital platform as well as identifying the specific areas, where ISSD can contribute in mitigating the alters identified.

Q. What were the next steps agreed upon?

A. Periodically, subsequent survey and FGD will be conducted, providing up-to-date alerts and copping strategies for the period of the pandemic and the end of next harvesting in December-January.


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