AFRICA – The Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa (ACTESA) is a specialized agency of COMESA, focused on agricultural development, has developed over four million physical seed labels that are ready for use by seed companies in the region.

ACTESA, manages the Seed Development Programme which is implemented within the guidelines of the COMESA Seed Harmonisation Implementation Plan (COMSHIP).

In line with COMSHIP, the programme has developed the COMESA Variety Catalogue, a platform that contains seed varieties which comply with requirements of having the seed registered in two COMESA Member States.

For a variety to be listed on the catalogue it has to be a certified and registered officially in two COMESA Member States

Once a variety is on the COMESA Variety Catalogue, it does not have to be subjected to more tests and can be imported, marketed and, if necessary, produced in any of the 21 COMESA Member States, reports Africa Business Communities.

For a variety to be listed on the catalogue it has to be a certified and registered officially in two COMESA Member States, coupled with data of the variety showing the Distinction Uniformity and Stability (DUS) and Value for Cultivation or Use (VCU) / National Performance Tests (NPT).

The labels are aimed to enable companies engage in regional seed trade for large seed consignments crossing the borders and in-country seed trade in smaller packages.

ACTESA/COMESA Seed Expert Dr John Mukuka revealed in Lusaka that the Seed Labels can be stuck on different sizes of bags including 1kg, 2kg, 5kg, 10kg, 20kg and 25kg bags within a 30 to 40 metric tonnes COMESA certified seed lot.

The COMESA Seed Labels are meant to provide an easy passage at the border and they are now available at the COMESA Secretariat at US$0.035/label in order to facilitate regional seed trade within the 21 COMESA Member States.

Comesa, partners agree to enhance trade in animal under AfCFTA

Meanwhile, African countries have embarked on strategies to boost trade in animals and product under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

A meeting between COMESA Secretariat, member States and other Regional Economic Communities (RECs) discussed the integration of informal trade in animals and animal products into formal trade and access to information on available market opportunities and market potentials within the region.

Other matters discussed included trade complementarity and the need for creating value addition opportunities to create diverse markets within Africa and financing the animal resources sector to boost productivity and development of the sector, reports Standard News.

The consultative meeting came up with a communique in which they called for the integration of AfCFTA-animal resources development strategies into national AfCFTA strategies.

This is in addition to identifying opportunities for investment along the value chains to enhance export capacity.

They also called for the development of productive capacities in the animal resources sector to advance industrial competitiveness and economic transformation among several other recommendations.

According to the experts, many COMESA countries face the challenge of access to markets and market uncertainty for animal and animal products, which include stringent SPS requirements, exotic quality standards, lack of market information, lack of linkages among enterprises in various countries, poor communication networks and inter-connectivity, lack of harmonised procedures and grading standards, transboundary animal diseases and competition from cheap imports from other regions.

To address some of these challenges, the COMESA Secretariat has been facilitating and coordinating the implementation of the Livestock Development Strategy for Africa (LiDeSA) and the COMESA Livestock Policy Framework in the region.

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