The production of quality seed features is a key factor in any policy to achieve food and nutrition security, which is among the primary goals of the government of Eritrea
In order to promote the achievement of national food security, the State of Eritrea issued a Seed Policy document in 2002, which provided effective strategic direction to develop the formal seed sector in Eritrea. According to Tekleab Misghina, director general of RSD, the Seed Policy document has undergone a lot of changes over the past 20 years, thereby necessitating the review of the policy document. For instance, new entities such as the Regulatory Services Department of the MoA and the Hamelmalo Agriculture College (HAC) came into being. These changes brought new experiences and knowledge to the formal seed sector.
The National Variety Release Committee, whose establishment envisaged in the Seed Policy document of 2002, was operational for about 10 years now, with lots of experiences accumulated so far. Tekleab went on to say that considerable progress had been made in crop research to develop new varieties and distribute them to farmers through the extension system which further strengthened the formal seed sector. These developments, among others, have thus brought in new experiences and dimensions to the formal seed sector in Eritrea.
With regards to the review process, the MoA established a technical committee, drawn from its technical departments, namely; the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI), the Agricultural Extension Department (AED), and the Regulatory Services Department (RSD) – serving as the coordinator for the review process. The committee made an in-depth analyses of the experiences gained thus far and future trends of the seed sector. The benchmark in reviewing the seed policy document is its contribution to the achievement of national food and nutrition security, which, as indicated above, remains among the main goals of the government of Eritrea.
Tekleab indicated that the technical committee finally produced a revised seed policy document for consideration by the MoA, which then organised a consultative workshop on 16 February 2023, with the aim to gather information to enrich the revised seed policy document. Around 40 participants comprising Minister Arefaine Berhe, senior officials from the MoA, HAC and Zobas, participated in the workshop.
“The workshop was highly participatory, where many views and comments were expressed to further improve the draft document. As the time was too short to accommodate all comments during the workshop, some days were given for participants to reflect their views in writing after going to their respective places,” Tekleab stated.