Seed Systems as Enablers to Seed Choice

Written on 11/09/2021
European Seed

On the occasion of the FAO Global Conference on Green Development of Seed Industries held on November 4-5, the International Seed Federation (ISF) called for collaboration between the private and public sectors towards sustainable agriculture based on seed resilience and enabling seed choice for farmers.

In this keynote address, ISF Secretary General Michael Keller said: “I am here to make a call for unified effort towards seed resilience to ensure “the adaptability and capacity to contribute to food and nutrition security by making accessible sufficient, diverse, locally adapted, improved, high quality varieties to all farmers taking into account environmental, health and socio-economic aspects”.”

The private seed sector also sought support from the FAO in reshaping the dialogue on seed systems to one that recognizes the diversity of farmer needs and situations.

Keller remarked that the focus should be on interrelation between different seed systems. “Empowering farmers means accepting that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The situation, needs and preferences of farmers are extremely varied in terms of size, profitability, and activities in different countries, regions or even smaller geographic areas. There is no silver bullet that will solve everything in one go.”

ISF continued its call for cooperation and partnerships in the areas of genetic resources conservation, plant breeding innovation, and capacity building. Keller emphasized that the seed sector’s capacity to contribute depends on an enabling environment where the international and national regulations are aligned, clear, science-based, risk-proportionate and predictable.

The private seed sector representatives who spoke during the conference came from a diverse range of companies and associations from  Africa, Asia, North and South America to emphasize the importance of effective seed systems for successful agricultural transformation, diversification and intensification and inclusive market oriented and thus farmer-focused seed sector to enhance seed choice and secure availability of quality seed for farmers.

ISF called upon governments to join, implement and put in place the relevant systems and well-defined international standards, agreements and guidelines established by various intergovernmental organizations like OECD, ISTA, IPPC, and others on seed quality, varietal identity, certification and seed health – as these have proven beneficial for the agriculture production of the countries who have joined these platforms, by enabling farmers to have access to high quality seed and new plant varieties.