Zambia partners with USAID in commissioning first hybrid maize seed export to DRC

ZAMBIA – Zambian government in partnership with the South African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat and the USAID have commissioned the first hybrid maize seed export from Zambia to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

This pilot initiative was launched in December 2018 as a joint venture between the U.S. government through USAID’s Feed the Future Southern Africa Seed Trade Project, SADC FANR, Seed Co. Zambia Ltd. and the Zambian government.

Under this partnership, Seed Co. Zambia Ltd. planted 200 metric tons worth of hybrid maize seed composed of three varieties (SC647, SC637 and SC719) in accordance with the SADC HSRS requirements, estimated at 400,000 USD.

This successfully led to the marking of the historic milestone in agricultural trade with the first hybrid maize seed export.

The export process which was commissioned under the SADC Harmonised Seed Regulatory System (HSRS) and Seed Certification and Quality Assurance guidelines offers a path forward for SADC countries to move high-quality seed varieties listed in the SADC Regional Variety Catalogue across borders.

It also ensures consistency of the improved seeds and will stop illegal vices which have always been encountered such as smuggling and fraud.

Issues such as variations in national seed-certification and quality-control standards have historically complicated seed trade between countries and made it difficult to move emergency seed consignments across borders.

As a result, new and existing seed entrepreneurs have been discouraged from investing in the market.

This regional seed trade pilot will provide valuable lessons regarding the feasibility of the recently passed SADC Seed Certification and Quality Assurance guidelines.

Commenting on the success of the undertaking Micheal Katambo, Zambia Minister of Agriculture stated, “It is an honor to be the first, especially when it is about economic development, food and nutrition, and this maiden export is no exception.

“The Zambian government looks forward to a future where the trade of improved seed varieties between our nations is not such a novelty, but a matter of best practice.”

The United States government will continue to partner with the Zambian government and the SADC Secretariat to work towards the full implementation and domestication of the SADC Harmonised Seed Regulatory Systems among member states.

“On behalf of the U.S. government, I am here to reinforce our commitment to economic growth in SADC. The United States believes every person, every community, and every country wants to be empowered to lead their own future,” said USAID/Zambia Director Sheryl Stumbras.

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