Malawi launches long-awaited Seed Policy

Written by  Faith Mwafulirwa

Malawi has a new seed policy that has incorporated farmer’s rights and other emerging issues in the sector, replacing the 1993 policy. Speaking when he launched the policy in Lilongwe the Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Joseph Mwanamvekha said the policy is key for the growth of the seed industry.

Mwanamvekha shows off the National Seed Policy Mwanamvekha shows off the National Seed Policy

Mwanamvekha noted that as an agro economy Malawi needed a seed policy that is aligned to the regional frameworks to satisfy the growing demand for quality high yield. He said the policy will guide activities to improve food security and effective seed trade.  

“Over the past 15 years Malawi has technologically grown with close to 30 seed producing companies saying with such a growing industry it was imperative for the ministry to move on aligning the sector to some changes within and abroad for better regulation,” Mwanamvekha said.

The government of Malawi recognizes the fundamental importance of a sustainable seed industry in contributing to increased agricultural production and diversification. The Seed Traders Association of Malawi (STAM)-has been on the forefront in advocating for the policy. The Association’s chairperson John Lungu hails government for a tremendous job in incorporating all the concerns coming from the seed sector before coming up with the final document.

“Effective seed trade is one of the essential components in the attainment of food security in the region hence the need for government and all stakeholders to work together in making the seed industry vibrant,” he said.  Lungu added that the in order to improve productivity in the agricultural sector, increased access to affordable and high quality inputs such as seed is very critical.  

A representative of the Donor Committee for Agriculture and Food Security (DCAFS) noted that the involvement of farmer’s rights in the policy is a welcome development as it will give farmers cooperatives a chance to produce seeds that suit their areas. With the policy in place Malawi is now looking forward to enacting a seed law that has been high on the agenda but was since waiting for the strategy which the ministry has launched.

 A review of the Malawi National Seed Policy(1993) revealed a number of gaps considering the various developments that have taken place in the seed industry since the policy came into effect. Amongst the many gaps in the 1993 seed policy was the absence of the definition of the term seed which limited the scope  of commodities  that fell under the mandate of the policy.

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