In Ethiopia, representatives of various public and industry bodies have developed a joint vision for the seed sector in 2040. They also outlined their strategies on how to transform and govern the seed sector in each regional state. Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation facilitated the process.

In short, the joint vision states that in 2040, the seed sector contributes to increased productivity, food security and farmers’ incomes. The sector is also self-sufficient, economically viable and efficient in assuring availability, accessibility and affordability of high quality seed. Next, it is internationally competitive, regionally harmonized, market‐oriented, able to adapt and innovate as well as inclusive. It should maintain biodiversity and be environmentally sustainable too. Furthermore, it is well‐organized, ‐coordinated and -regulated, as well as independent and transparent.

Sustainable Development Goals
This joint vision is an important step, as the limited availability and accessibility of quality seed and an inefficient seed market for long have resulted in low yields and incomes for the millions of Ethiopian smallholder farmers. An increased access to quality seed of new, improved, and farmer preferred varieties will support food and nutrition security and economic development in Ethiopia. It will contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals Zero Hunger and Decent Work and Economic Growth. By cultivating an enabling environment for innovation and the coexistence of different seed systems, a wider range of farmers and seed entrepreneurs will benefit.

Setting priorities
The vision for 2040 was developed by thirty representatives of various public and industry bodies in Ethiopia. In a two-day Seed Sector Governance workshop they assessed the status of the Ethiopian seed sector at regional and national levels, and their own roles in governing the seed sector. The representatives considered services, production, markets, revenue generation and reinvestment, sector coordination, and regulation and management as ‘building blocks’ for the vision.

Next, they tried to agree on clear priorities for change and formulated a joint vision towards which collective transformational efforts could be harmonised. Also a number of follow up actions were suggested, for which responsible parties were appointed. The proceedings of the workshop are available online.

Regions will help fulfil the vision
The vision is a starting point for further strategizing at regional levels, as that is where the action takes place. Next, the representatives acknowledged that the seed sector poses many complex challenges requiring competent, effective and accountable leadership in coordination. Reforms in government were proposed, as specialized coordinating bodies are necessary in this respect.

ISSD Ethiopia
The Seed Sector Governance workshop was designed and facilitated by the Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation. Transformation of the Ethiopian seed sector requires stakeholders in the sector to examine their role, their contribution, and their ambition. It starts though, with understanding the sector and the diverse range of actors and processes within it. The workshop was part of the Integrated Seed Sector Development programme in Ethiopia (ISSD Ethiopia), coordinated by the Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation.

Source: Wageningen University & Research