The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) will issue agro companies with certificates to trade in seed in the region. This is in line with COMESA’s Seed Harmonisation and Implementation Plan (COMSHIP), a framework for the 19 member states to trade, promote the seed industry and support local seed companies.
“Seed companies will be issued with a seed certificate to confirm they meet the COMESA seed trade harmonisation regulations,” said Mwangi Gakunga, COMESA’s head of corporate communications.
Gakunga said labels will be used to identify seeds to ensure compliance.
According to her, the COMESA seed labels will be based on the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and will apply to four seed classes – pre-basic, basic, first generation and second generation seed.
The issuance of the labels and certificates will come into effect by August 2017.
Currently, Zambia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Malawi and Zimbabwe have aligned their national seed laws.
Harmonisation of the laws is part of the COMESA 2014-2020 Strategy to increased seed production, reliability, trade and competitiveness of the seed industry in the region. The strategy is aimed at increasing food security in the region and enhancing agriculture contribution to the member state GDP’s. Currently, agriculture contributes about 30% of COMESA’s GDP, representing US$550 million.