Category Archives: ISSD news

Fostering B2B relationships between SPCs and Unions

One of ISSD’s activities in 2019 focus on strengthening Business-to-Business (B2B) relations between Seep Producing Cooperatives (SPCs) and Unions to improve collaborative arrangements to enhance the delivery of quality and reliable seed in a market-oriented environment.

Accordingly, ISSD Amaha Unit together with Amhara Cooperative Promotion Agency (CPA) conducted an assessment on selected SPCs and Unions to identify major obstacles that hinder a conducive environment for better product and service delivery. The  assessment highlighted the main source of conflict were shortage of basic seed, late collection of seeds, late payment and lack of accountability. And major challenges relate to governance/decision making process, ownership, commitment, trust, conflict management, capacity /capability and unclear roles and responsibilities of stakeholders.

Following the assessment a two-day workshop was held, where the assessment results were presented and validated, critical challenges prioritized, and solutions proposed.  During the expert level consultation session, participants discussed on how to develop a strategic document and operational plan that includes methodologies to unlock indecision, strategies to build capacities of SPCs and unions and build a joint responsibility and accountability.

Oromia South West ISSD Programme unit also held a two day workshop with 26 participants representing  farmers unions,  SPCs including graduated LSBs, ATA, GIZ, ESA, Regional Bureau of Agriculture, Regional Cooperative Promotion Agency, OSE, woreda agriculture office and woreda cooperative promotion office. The purpose was to better understand gaps and challenges that hinder a collaborative arrangement in the seed business and identify strategic actions each key stakeholder can take to nurture the relationship between SPCs and unions. The workshop was valuable to identify and prioritize key challenges, and assign key responsibilities to start working on addressing the identified challenges in the coming season.

 

Consultative workshop towards institutionalization of ISSD major initiatives

Institutionalization and sustainability are important issues for any donor-funded programme that works to ensure success achieved during implementation continue beyond the life the project. In light of this, ISSD Amhara Unit organized a consultative workshop where Bahir Dar University high officials and regional seed core group members discussed major strategies to institutionalize ISSD’s best practices. The workshop was valuable to look at ways to embed the activities and approached of ISSD into the university outreach programme and discuss on major challenges to scale best practices achieved over the years.

The workshop was opened by Dr. Firew Tegengne, President of Bahir Dar University and Ato Tesfahun Tegene, BoA Deputy Head. In their remark, they appreciated major achievements of the programme on seed sector transformation and it effort to create a vibrant, pluralistic and market oriented seed sector.

Major issues discussed included documentation, scaling, and how to tie the projects lessons into the university community services. Overall, consensus was reached on embedding ISSD modalities & approaches of selected innovations, and strengthening the linkage with the university Research and Community Service and with faculty of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences.

The participants were also given an opportunity to visit major achievements of Debretabor University and ISSD’s disease free seed potato minituber production. A total of 40 participants’ attended the workshop.

Seed Producer Cooperatives benefit from crop insurance in eastern part of Ethiopia

Towards strengthening the stability of Seed Producer Cooperatives (SPCs) and protect them against losses caused by crop failure, one of BENEFIT-ISSD’s activities focus on piloting crop insurance for SPCs. Following an agreement made in 2017 between Chercher Odabultum Farmers’ Cooperative Unions (COBFCU) and the Oromia Insurance Company (OIC), Daro Gora SPC collected the first payment due to very poor 2018 rainfall performance in West Hararghe Zone. The payment that was based on Multiple peril crop insurance (MPCI), was worth about 900,000 Birr for a partial claim of 40% crop failure on 80ha of land.

The agreement covered three SPCs (Daro Gora, Milkessa Lafto Goba and Misoma Gudina) and was made with a 450,000 Birr capital to claim 9 million recoveries for complete loss that may happen in 2018. A total of 420 SPC members who were directly affected received payment from 1700 birr to 7775 birr. Farmers who benefited from this pilot insurance scheme noted that the effort has increased their confidence and commitment to make long term plans for their seed business.

ISSD insuarnce pic2

“I never thought insurance was available for farmers and crops,” said Kebede Ogecho, Daro Gora SPC members in Guba Koricha, father of eight. “We thank the Union for facilitating this insurance scheme. This initiative created motivation among members and non-members to invest more in seed production business”.

 

A guide to transform the national seed sector in Ethiopia

The National Seed Advisory Group (NSAG), together with the Seed Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) developed a document to guide and align the efforts of policy makers, development partners and practitioners towards transforming the national seed sector in Ethiopia. It covers the assessment of the current status of the seed sector and identifies major challenges along with strategic interventions to transform each of the seed sector key pillars, considering seed production, marketing, services, regulation, revenue generation, and overall coordination of the seed system. The document was developed by diverse organizations, among then BENEFIT-ISSD, and validated through stakeholders’ consultations at several fora. (Download the document here)  

Enabling private seed producers produce disease free potato mini-tuber

Even though potato is a high potential crop that contributes to food security, its productivity is very low in Ethiopia. Lack of disease free quality seed and especially the occurrence of bacterial wilt is a major challenge since the majority of farmers use farm saved potato seed from the local market or through seed exchange. The recent ISSD and ENTAG collaborative effort towards addressing this major limiting factor focused on provision of grants to a competitive private seed producer to produce and supply disease free quality potato minituber using screen house and drip irrigation technologies. ENTAG provided 25,000 Euro grant for Loma Azmir private seed producer one of the 4 direct private companies supported by ISSD Amhara unit since 2016.

Loma Azmir is expected to become one of the best seed producer companies of the region through the adoption and utilization of improved, efficient agricultural technologies and expect to contribute much for the seed sector development.

The production started with a construction of 15 m X 8m X 3 (Length, width and height) screen house and 8mx6mx5m Diffused Light Store (DLS) in the potato potential areas of East Gojam zone, Michael woreda, Amanuel kebele. The standard screen house is built with mush wire, cemented floor and uses ground water. It is equipped with drip pipes, hydraulically operated and diaphragm-actuated control valves and other components.

The potato mini-tuber, Dagem, Jaleni and Gudeni varieties were planted in 1500 pots. The producer is expected to produce 400 quintals of certified quality seed benefiting about 80 farmers in the initial stage (assuming that the average land holding for potato is 0.25 ha per farmer). Loma Azmir recruited one expert specialized in agronomy, and constructed the store and office in the farm site.

While ENTAG contributed by allocating the grant, ISSD Amhara unit supported the seed producer in creating linkage with (plant supplier, Woreda office of agriculture, quality regulatory authority and Adate Agricultural Research Center) and facilitated linkage with Organization for Rehabilitation and Development in Amhara Region (ORDA) to get  mini-tuber, and provided technical support at field level.        

ADDRESSING EARLY GENERATION SEED (EGS) PRODUCTION CHALLENGES THROUGH CONTRACTUAL AGREEMENTS

One of the key activities of ISSD programme focuses on advancing Early Generation Seed (EGS) production contractual agreements to ensure the availability and affordability of EGS from research and seed producers. Accordingly, ISSD Amhara unit held a two-day meeting, to evaluate and learn from its 2018 EGS agreement performance, and review and approve 2019 plan.

The first day was attended by 15 core group and seed unit members and high officials and assigned by the Ministry. The Regional Bureau of Agriculture presented the achievements and challenges encountered in 2018 crop season. Overall, EGS production of hybrid maize, teff and to some extent wheat crops shows promising results, while malt barley, sorghum and faba bean EGS production remains challenging.

It was noted that in spite of the contractual agreement and regular discussion among core group and seed unit members, there were unwillingness observed by some seed producers to supply EGS agreed upon. The need to put in place mechanisms to enforce the agreement was highlighted repeatedly.

The second day was devoted for reviewing, approving and singing of 2019 contractual agreement. The discussion focused on the role of the core group and seed unit to cascade next year plan, members responsibilities, and how to address shortage of land and breeder seed.  A total of 50 participants from regulatory authority, ATA, public seed enterprises, private seed producers, research institutions, unions, BOA and ISSD staffs attended the planning and signing session.

Overall, the participants appreciated the role ISSD plays in bringing key stakeholders together to conduct demand assessments, planning and signing of agreements between seed producers and buyers.

Contributed by Wonzie Asmare, Knowledge Sharing and Communication Expert – BENEFIT-ISSD Ethiopia – Amhara Unit 

Strengthening the capacity of seed quality control authorities

On May 27 & 28, 2019, BENEFIT-ISSD Ethiopia (Integrated Seed Sector Development-Ethiopia) programme organized a two day training on “Seed quality control techniques and seed related international conventions, treaties and understandings” for 11 (8 male and 3 female) general managers, deputy managers, directors, seed inspectors and experts. The participants represented four seed quality control authorities in the four regional states of Ethiopia (Oromia, Amhara, Tigray and SNNPR).

The training was useful to (i) enhance competence in leadership with clear vision so as to ensure delivery of quality seed to farmers; (ii) increase inspiration to further develop knowledge and skill in the area of seed regulatory frameworks, and (iii) increase availability and access to quality seeds of improved varieties by strengthening strong seed quality assurance system, which protects both seed users and genuine seed companies. The participants agreed the training was timely and will help them improve their seed quality control skill and hence, enable them provide good service for their client seed producers and distributors.

Key topics covered during the two-days training were

  1. Seed related international conventions, treaties and understandings
  2. Ethiopian seed policy, seed strategy, and seed regulatory frameworks (seed law and its regulations, directives; PVP and its regulation and directives; access and benefit sharing; biosafety)
  3. Seed regulatory harmonization at regional level (e.g. COMESA, SADC, ECOWAS) & its purposes
  4. Seed quality assurance at field level
  5. Seed quality assurance at laboratory
  6. Seed quality assurance (objectives and mechanisms) &
  7. Licensing seed producers and seed dealers- amendment of qualification criteria for obtaining COC

The training was organized by BENEFIT-ISSD-PMU based on training need assessments made in consultation with the managers of the four seed regulatory authorities. It was held at Pyramid Resort & Hotel, Bishoftu.

It was facilitated by resource people from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and ISSD Ethiopia Programme.

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