Botswana has been cautioned to develop the seed industry in order to regulate the production, processing, certification, marking and trade of seeds in Botswana. This was said by a visiting delegation from the African Seed Industry at an impromptu interview with this publication.
The leader of the delegation Marks Musonda said there are benefits that accrue to countries which purposefully draft and enact seed legislation. “If Botswana develops a strong seed legislation, it will be much easier to regulate the import of seeds and other related planting materials from other countries,” says Musonda adding that “the passing and implementation of such a bill would improve the seed industry and seed varieties development, and put a stop to the entrance and sale of unregulated seeds in Botswana.”
He also said their findings from the few days they have been in Botswana show that some seed producers, processors and dealers are not registered and do not even meet all the approved requirements such as industrial skills, equipment and also infrastructure. “The registration of seed dealers will guarantee that only high-quality and certified seed varieties are distributed in the chain.”
Musonda also spoke of how seed varieties and climate change are linked. “Over the past few years, research and studies have proven that seed technology is key to addressing the problem of food security in the whole world.” Musonda also said if Botswana embraces seed technology it could also address the hunger problem as good and regulated seeds “have potential to alter nutrition problems since the seeds are designed to withstand adverse weather conditions”.
Amongst other things, Musonda said regulating the seed industry would ensure that Botswana has oversight over imported and exported seeds to make sure that only eligible seeds can be sold to the market.