The number of seed varieties listed on the COMESA Variety Catalogue has increased to sixty-nine after seeds from two more companies namely Western Seed and SEEDCO were listed through the Uganda National Variety List.
This has been made possible by the COMESA Seed Harmonization Implementation Plan (COMSHIP).
COMSHIP, a COMESA Seed Programme working in close collaboration with USAID has facilitated this process as part of ongoing efforts to operationalize the COMESA Variety Catalogue.
As a basic requirement, a seed variety is eligible to be listed on the regional variety catalogue if it first registers on lists in two COMESA Member States.
Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa (ACTESA) Head and Seed Development Expert Dr John Mukuka recently revealed in Lusaka that the two seed companies can now trade some of their seed within Uganda and freely export the rest to neighbouring COMESA Member countries.
“These early and medium maturing varieties of both Seed-Co and Western seed are climate-smart and shall assist small-holder farmers in mitigating climate change effects and maximum on increasing their household incomes,” said Dr Mukuka.
This listing also means that for the next two to three years, the two companies will be able to multiply their seed production without under undergoing further testing or any restrictions and they can now access the larger COMESA market, Dr Mukuka added.
Currently, thirteen national/regional and international seed companies have their varieties listed on the COMESA Variety Catalogue.
These include Bayer, Seed-co, Pannar, Pioneer Dupont, East African Seed Company, Hytech Seed Egypt, Euro plant Pflanzenzucht, Kenya Seed co, Naseco MRI/Syngenta, Western Seed co and HZP Holland.
Under the COMESA Regional Harmonized Trading System, these varieties can be traded freely without these seed companies having to register them for testing and certification before being traded in a given COMESA Member State.
The Seed-co varieties that have been listed include SC302 a very early maturing maize variety and early maturing maize varieties of SC403, SC 533, SC 529. Others are early maturing sorghum variety of SC Sila.
For Western Seed Company, the varieties listed include medium maize maturing varieties of WH101, WH 504, WH 505, WH507, WH 509 and late maturing maize varieties of WH 4.
BY SAMUEL NABWIISO