Participants in a training session by Dr Aboubacar Touré.

Strengthening capacity of Malian private sector in first generation seed production

Participants in a training session by Dr Aboubacar Touré.

Participants in a training session by Dr Aboubacar Touré.

In an effort to increase compliance of seed production in Mali with the laws and standards, especially for that of hybrid seed production, a training program was organized by ICRISAT for researchers, seed companies and farmers during 7 – 11 December in Sikasso through the Integrated Seed Sector Development in the Sahel project (ISSD/Sahel).

The training program looked at increasing awareness and knowledge of breeders in the variety registration process, variety maintenance and to better involve private companies in early generation seed production. The program, “Laws and texts governing the registration of varieties in the seed catalog and the production of early-generation seeds in Mali”, is expected to help in the larger endeavor to make available breeder and foundation seeds to seed producers in Mali through the project. Thanks to the strong collaboration between private sector and research, some seed companies and farmers organizations (FOs) in Mali are already involved in sorghum seed production under supervision of researchers.

“Our main objective as a research center is to help seed production units become independent in the future and take up production of foundation seeds without the help of any project,” said Dr Baloua Nebie, sorghum breeder and the project’s Coordinator at ICRISAT.

Seed production involves meeting many requirements, particularly production of hybrid varieties, like the techniques of isolation and purification. Complying with the rules results in quality seeds meeting the criteria for certification.

“Seed production is done according to precise rules. It obeys the laws in force in Mali. The objective was to share with participants this useful information around rules and laws that regulate seed production in Mali,” said Dr Dioncounda Camara, trainer from LABOSEM (Mali’s seed regulator).

Dr Aboubacar Touré, a sorghum breeder and Product Placement Lead at ICRISAT, trained the participants In first generation seed producing techniques and maintenance of varieties.

“Hybrid production can be a bit complicated in terms of complying with the rules. This is not always clear for seed companies like us. This kind of training can help us to produce good quality seeds,” said Mr Ibrahim Mallé, Director General of ZAMOHO, a seed company. Twenty two trainees, including researchers, representatives of seed companies and farmers’ organizations participated. The training revolved around many crops, such as sorghum, millet, groundnut, cowpea, rice, maize and vegetables.

To hear what the participants said about the training, click here.

Funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (EKN) and coordinated by a consortium of the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) (lead organization), Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA), Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) (Netherlands) and ICRISAT, the ISSD Sahel project works in Mali and Niger to transform seed systems in these countries.

Recommendations for better production of foundation and breeder seeds 

  • At the end of the training sessions, participants conveyed to the research centers (ICRISAT and IER) the need to maintain and strengthen collaboration with seed companies in all their activities. They also added that this collaboration should not be project-based and that they are ready to implement demonstration plots of new varieties using their resources.
  • A continual capacity building is required to maintain seed quality, especially of hybrids.
  • It is also important to indicate the name of the hybrid parents in the regional seed catalogs so that the hybrids registered with varying names across countries could be identified by seed companies. This can help avoid duplication.

Project: Integrated Seed Sector Development in the Sahel (ISSD/Sahel)
Funder: Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (EKN)
Partners: International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA), Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), NARS partners from Mali and Niger, and ICRISAT

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