Assessment of the impact of the seed policy in research and training in seed systems among private sector Institutions

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Simukondo, Coilard S.
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University of Zambia
In 1991, the Zambian government embarked on the liberalization of the economy including the agricultural sector. This meant that Zambia also shifted from the reliance of the public enterprises in the seed business and directed more interest towards private sector participation in both seed processing, marketing and variety development. By the year 2000, quite a number of private seed companies were operating in the country. However, these changes were taking place without a coherent policy to guide the performance and interests of players in the seed business. It is for this reason the National Seed Industrial policy and the National Agricultural policy were formulated in 1999 and 2004 respectively. To date, there hasn't been an impact assessment of private sector participation in research and training in seed systems. Therefore, this study was carried out to specifically establish the number of private companies currently involved in research in seed systems (that is in plant breeding and variety development) and also assess the policy environment. In the study, both primary and secondary data were collected. Primary data was collected by way of questionnaires and open interviews from both private, NGOs and Public sector institutions that included SCCI, (ZARI secondary data), SEEDCO, ZAMSEED, MRI, Kamano, Pannar, Hygrotech, Crop Serve, (ZASTA secondary data), ACF, Caritas Zambia and ZNFU. In the study Seven (7) private companies were captured of which Three (3) were involved in seed processing, multiplication and marketing and Four (4) were actively involved in plant breeding and variety development plus seed processing, multiplication and marketing. In terms of training breeders. Four (4) indicated that they were not involved in any training of plant breeders and this represented 57% and the remaining Three (3) said they did train their own breeders representing 43%. All the seed companies have trained seed quality certifier personnel with SCCI who can carry out various seed quality control tests. The production of certified seed was found to have increased in the 2005/06 season, from 8512 metric tones of maize seed produced in 2000/01 season to 30587 metric tones representing an increase of 260%. A review of the varieties developed/released by the private sector from 1992 to 2007 showed an increase in the total number of varieties released by the private sector to 96 varieties developed. The number of private seed companies involved in research and variety development has increased from three in 1998 to five as of 2008, representing a 66% increase. This has been necessitated by the coherent seed policy framework that was put in place to provide the environment necessary for both private and public sector initiatives. The policy has seen changes were the government's role is not only in monitoring and regulating the seed industry, but also encouraging private sector participation in quality control and certification through licensing.
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Seeds production-Zambia , Seeds Industry-Zambia