Monday, 3 March 2008

Meeting of the African Union’s Directorate of Rural Economy and Agriculture (AU-DREA)

Staff of the FAO Regional Office for Eastern Africa and Rome offices; Libya, Tanzania, Kenya, Burkina Faso Senegal, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Madagascar, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Uganda, Burundi, South Africa, Tanzania; COMESA, ECOWAS, ECCAS/CEMAC, SADC; ASARECA, CORAF/WECARD, SADC-FANR; Norway, France, Netherland,s, China; ASN, ROPPA, BIOEARN; IFPRI, ICARDA, Bioversity International; AGRA; Consultants from Ivory Coast & Nigeria reviewed and discussed between 19-22 February in Addis Abeba the AU/FAO commissioned consultancy reports on the development of the seed sector in Africa in line with the AU Sirte Summit decisions on functional seed sector for African farmers. Project profiles were developed as follows:
  • Strengthening networks and exchange programs for gene banks and variety improvement centers
  • Development, adoption and capacity building for variety improvement strategies including through biotechnology applications
  • Capacity building for safe handling and release of biotechnology seeds, planting materials and varieties
  • Establishment of an African seed development training program
  • Strengthening national seed sector through policy interventions
  • Improvement of seed marketing and distribution channels in partnership with the private sector
  • Development of improved disaster preparedness and response to seed insecurity
  • Assistance to improving seed quality to enhance seed trade
  • ASBP national seed projects support fund
  • Technical assistance for national seed reviews


Svalbard's Doomsday Vault: The Global Seed Vault Raises Political/Conservation Debate. The swarm of media attention focusing on the opening of the Global Seed Vault in Norway's high Arctic may overshadow an even bigger news story. On 26 February, the Norwegian government pledged to give 0.1% of money spent on commercial seed sales to support Farmers' Rights, and challenged other governments to do the same.

What Are Seed Gene Banks and How Do They Work? The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) maintains and coordinates seed gene banks around the world, encompassing 600000 plant varieties. Its goal is to back up all known varieties of useful plant varieties.

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