The policy aims at enhancing productivity, assuring biodiversity conservation, maintaining seed security, modernising and developing a globally competent seed industry by giving special emphasis to the private sector, according to the draft policy.
Drafted by a task force composed of experts from the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ethiopian Development Research Institute over the past two years, the policy was submitted for approval to the Council of Ministers two months ago.
The improved seeds are produced and supplied by five public enterprises, 45 private domestic companies, 14 unions, 150 cooperatives and a few national private seed companies, including research institutions. The five enterprises cover 70pc of seed supply at a national level, while seed unions and private suppliers cover 20pc and 10pc of the supply, respectively.
“It will enable the country to become self-sustained in seed supply, substitute seed imports and generate income from the export of seeds,” reads the draft policy.
“Over a third of seed varieties are released and supplied by public enterprises,” Mulugeta told Fortune.
As of 2017, the country released a total of 1,198 varieties of seeds, of which 421 are cereal crops, where 223 and 111 are pulse and oil crops, respectively. There are also more than 233 tubers, roots and vegetable seeds.
The other four seed enterprises are located in Oromia, Amhara, SNNP and the Somali regional states. The five enterprises have their own lands totaling 38,000ha to produce the seed by growing crops on their farms. Oromia Seed Enterprise possesses the largest area at 28,000ha.
Participation of the private sector in improved seed production and supply is in its infancy, according to Mulugeta Enki, the secretariat of the Ethiopian Seed Association. The Association has 36 members including individuals, cooperatives and public institutions engaged in public and private seed production, distribution and trade.
“The policy will also help the country conserve and regulate its endangered indigenous crop seeds,” he said.
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