Partnership & Member Services

Member Services and Partnership Committee

  • Purpose

The purpose of this Committee is to assist the AFSTA Secretariat run activities pertaining to Member services and Partnerships.

  • Background

Africa is progressively shifting from the public funded seed systems to diversified market oriented private led seed sector. The private seed sector is increasingly being recognized by African governments as important to the availability and delivery of quality seed to farmers to enable growth and transformation of agriculture in the continent. However, the Africa seed industry faces many challenges that limit its potential to provide the much desired quality seeds by farmers in the continent.

Some key challenges faced by the Africa seed industry are:

  • Massive trade barriers due to outdated seed laws and regulations that adversely affect the ability or desire for private-sector investment in the seed industry
  • Poor representation of the private sector interest at the seed development agenda
  • Germplasm accessibility challenges
  • Low capacity of local seed companies to deliver
  • Not well managed seed subsidies that distorts the seed market, diminish farmer choice and break down distribution systems
  • Poor government support to seed business; poor infrastructure, credit, trainings, implementation of regional policies, etc.
  • Unpredictable seed market; climate change, political instability, corruption, emerging diseases and pests etc.
  • Weakness and/or absence of National seed trade associations
  • Low competitiveness of African seed industry at global level sharing about one tenth of global seed market value estimated at over USD 48 billion

Effective seed sector transformations require the representation of the private seed sector in the seed development agenda at national, regional and global levels. AFSTA is the apex voice of the private seed sector representing and protecting the rights and interests of the private seed sector at all levels. AFSTA must be an effective partner to the seed policy makers and other stakeholders to discuss constraints and provide solutions to emerging seed issues, to create an enabling environment for seed traders in Africa.

As a service provider to members, AFSTA strives to;

  • Reduce trade barriers through dialogue with policy makers for regional harmonization of seed trade regulations to facilitate within and beyond Africa seed trade
  • Identify and reach out to appropriate partners for the development of the seed industry
  • Research on topical issues for solution to the problems of seed industry and have experts present them during the AFSTA annual congresses
  • Develop position papers to inform members on relevant seed industry issues impacting on seed trade
  • Strengthen SIGs as platform for members to meet and discuss topical issues and advance their interest to stakeholders
  • Create seed industry information system that offer market related data for appropriate trade decision making

 

  • Functions

The Members’ Services and Partnership committee will:

  • Identify and attempt to address critical points that ease of doing seed business within and beyond Africa borders
    • Improve partnership and information sharing with the regional economic communities (EAC, COMESA, SADC, and ECOWAS) and advocate on removal of seed trade barriers
    • Create awareness to seed traders of the RECs harmonized seed trade regulations
    • Support implementation of the harmonized seed trade regulations by member states at the level of regional economic communities.
    • Guide and assist AFSTA members on the use of the regional harmonized seed regulations at various regional economic communities
    • Develop a seed industry database on variety release, seed production, import and export, etc. hosted at AFSTA to facilitate seed trade in Africa.
  • Develop strategies that improve the visibility of AFSTA as the apex body of the seed industry in Africa
    • Strengthen linkages with seed stakeholders at national regional and global levels
    • Participate in strategic regional, continental and global events/ forums
    • Forge partnership agreements between AFSTA and strategic seed stakeholders
  • Explore strategies of improving services to AFSTA members:
    • Promote Intellectual Property Rights to improve access to suitable varieties by farmers in Africa
    • Make Special Interest Groups more efficient to become permanent platform to debate on ongoing seed issues
    • Write new AFSTA position papers and review the existing ones in line with dynamics in the seed industry
  • Identify key development partners working on relevant seed issues and build relationships to mobilize resources for key seed projects to be undertaken by AFSTA
    • Mapping out AFSTA potential members in the continent and contact them to join AFSTA
    • Establish National Seed Trade Associations in the countries that have potential i.e. existence of private seed industry
    • Participate in seed initiatives conducted by development partners with a view to making them profitable by AFSTA members and farmers.
    • Forge partnership with resource providers USAID, World Bank, BMGF.

Membership

  • Riadh Gabsi – Chair
  • Azariah Soi – Vice Chair
  • Mahomed Saïdi – Member
  • Grace Gitu – Secretary

Meetings and Communication

This committee should meet in person at least 2 times per year once during the AFSTA congress and once during Board of Directors and at least 2 conference calls per year if need arises

In general the annual calendar of activities is suggested as follows:

  • During the annual AFSTA Congress
    • Closed committee meeting (committee members and AFSTA Board of Directors members only)
    • Open session as needed to update members of issues / developments in the field
  • October Meeting
    • One day prior to AFSTA Board of Directors meeting
      • Closed committee meeting (committee members and AFSTA Board of Directors members only)
      • AFSTA Board of Directors members not required but those interested should be invited
    • Day of AFSTA Board of Directors meeting chair report to Board of Directors on activities of committee and as needed Board of Directors make requests of committee.

If needed the committee will call special meetings to be held via Skype to work on projects and specific goals of the committee.