ZAMBIA – The USA government through USAID’s Feed the Future Southern Africa Seed Trade Project, officially handed over a rebuilt cold storage facility to the Zambia Seed Control and Certification Institute, SCCI in Chilanga Southern Zambia.

The U.S. government provided funding to the National Seed Authority of Zambia to rebuild the cold-storage seed store facility, which was destroyed by fire in 2015.

The grant has also helped SCCI expand its reference sample cold storage facility for seeds.

The state-of-the-art cold storage facility is an important infrastructure in the seed certification process.

This will ensure SCCI meets international certification standards, such as the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) guidelines and the regions, Southern African Development Community Harmonised Seed Regulatory Systems (SADC HSRS) guidelines.

In April 2019, an ISTA audit of Zambia’s SCCI Seed Testing Laboratory guaranteed the laboratory’s competence to test and issue ISTA International Seed Lot Certificates.

These certificates allow for international seed trade not only in the SADC region, but also in the COMESA region and beyond. The rebuilding of the cold-storage seed store was critical to SCCI passing the audit.

“This facility is very important to us as a country, as it forms part of the requirements for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) seed certification quality assurance system and it also provides a basis for auditing by ISTA,” said Minister of Agriculture, Micheal Katambo.

The United States is committed to economic development and food security in the SADC region and Zambia’s leadership in seed export and trade.

This has been made sure by, “Ensuring critical infrastructure such as this cold-storage facility are in place and maintained lays a strong foundation for the whole system to work smoothly.” Said Sheryl Stumbras, Director for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Zambia.

Zambia has become a major seed exporter in the SADC region. The U.S. government continues to partner with the Zambian government and the SADC Secretariat towards the full implementation and domestication of the SADC Harmonised Seed Regulatory Systems among member states.

In addition to that he USAID Seed Trade Project works closely with the SCCI to provide capacity building to other National Seed Authorities across the African continent.