By Chimwemwe Mangaz:
A Regional seed researcher, the African Seed Access Index (Tasai), has urged local authorities to consider strengthening seed regulations in a bid to increase agriculture sector’s input to the economy.
The call follows a study the institution conducted and validated recently.
The researcher found that most smallholder farmers in Malawi rely on the informal seed sector due to limited exposure, low availability of most varieties, inability to purchase seeds and limited access to agro-dealers.
According to the study, only 30 percent of the farmers use certified seed.
Tasai Programme Coordinator, Mainza Mugoya, said the government should fast-track passing of the Seed Policy and enactment of the Seed Law.
“These policy instruments will formally define the seed policy environment and implementation arrangements,” Mugoya said.
Senior Deputy Director in the Department of Agriculture Research Services, David Kamangira, said the government is providing a conducive environment, having reviewed the Seed Policy.
“Studies of this nature were conducted in 21 countries including Malawi and we are one of the countries that are doing well in ensuring that there is a conducive environment in terms of the seed industry,” Kamangira said.
The study findings show that out of 1,902 agricultural extension workers in Malawi, 1,862 are employed by the government, translating to a ratio of one extension officer per 1,388 agricultural households.