In its efforts to create the best environment for trade and innovation in quality seed for the benefit of members and farmers in Africa, AFSTA, among other things, seeks, in its vision, to ensure that all farmers in Africa have access to quality seed for food security. Today, there are all the indications on the ground that African agriculture is growing amidst myriads of challenges. The African food market continues to grow with World Bank estimates showing that it will be worth US$1 trillion by 2030 up from the current US$300 billion. Demand for food is also projected to at least double by 2050. These trends, combined with the continent’s food import bill, estimated at a staggering US$30–50 billion, indicate that an opportunity exists in farming. The latter cannot hold ground without certified seed.
The current contribution of Africa to global seed trade is less than 2 per cent. Yet, African farmers need quality seeds and seed companies are interested in further expanding trade. For this percentage to increase, there is need for a sustained communication plan well-coordinated at the AFSTA leadership level.
With all these opportunities knocking, AFSTA is determined to make a difference in seed trade especially for its members. We believe that promoting trade in high quality certified seed is both a moral duty and in the AFSTA members’ interest. We understand that helping Africa to be food secure is a critical step towards helping people on this continent to lift themselves out of poverty.
As more African countries inch closer to commercialization of biotech crops, focus has been on the seed industry in terms of their willingness and preparedness to deploy the innovative technologies to African farmers. AFSTA’s mandate is to create an enabling environment within the seed industry for smooth production of certified seed in Africa.
AFSTA has representation in 26 different African countries. AFSTA has also trained & sensitized nearly 60 seed companies in Africa on various aspects of seed production including seed marketing, seed treatment, good agronomic practices and advocacy for seed issues. Furthermore, AFSTA communicates via the African Seed Magazine, the E-Review and Flash News. The seed industry meets every March for the AFSTA Annual Congress and the 2020 edition of the congress will be in Livingstone, Zambia. As the African seed sector revolves around National Seed Trade Associations (NSTA), these can provide an avenue to promote all aspects of seed production and trade. Further, for the tempo to be kept alive, AFSTA needs to strategically partner with various stakeholders and follow up on what is going on in the seed production space in Africa. This calls for a substantive committee known as AFSTA Communication and Advocacy Committee.
The committee’s functions among others include;
- Plans, develops, executes and reviews AFSTA Communication Strategic Plan;
- The Committee organizes effective representation of AFSTA in forums such as ISTA, OECD and ITGPRA and UPOV to articulate and defend AFSTA’s position and mandate;
- The Committee ensures that AFSTA becomes a vital and visible voice at AU, RECs and international seed fora;
- Convenes regular meetings/interactions to take stock of progress of AFSTA’s Communication and Advocacy Committee work and engagements;
- Offers technical advice on outreach activities to AFSTA members with the purpose of dissemination and acceptability of associations’ issues as passed by the Board and which need their attention;
- Does internal quarterly progress reports by the Secretariat to enhance visibility and functionality of AFSTA as the voice of the seed industry in Africa;
- Develops information, communication and education (IEC) materials for AFSTA such includes The African Seed Magazine, E-Review, Flash News and on line presence through website, Twitter, Facebook and other social media;
- Develops a communications framework for information dissemination to partners and stakeholders;
- Determining potential areas for advocacy in consultation with NSTAs, AFSTA Committees and partners;
- Collaborate with other committees to in developing and disseminating various AFSTA position papers for advocacy work at AFSTA;
- Respond to various issues that affect the operability of the seed sector in various countries through press releases, press conferences and other media tools.