Seed CertificationSeed policy status in South SudanAlthough farmers in South Sudan rely largely on agriculture for their livelihoods, they practice subsistence agriculture, which does not create the surpluses needed to feed a rapidly growing number of rural and urban consumers. Agricultural practices are broadly divided between mixed cultivation in the ‘green belt’, and livestock rearing and extensive cultivation in the Ironstone Plateau and semi-arid zones. Quality seed is a key factor in successful agricultural development. An effective seed delivery system should guarantee the availability of quality seed to farmers at the right time and place, and at affordable prices. The 21-year protracted violent conflict and recurrent floods and drought exacerbated seed shortages in South Sudan. The Ministry of Agriculture Forestry, Tourism, Animal Resources, Fisheries, Cooperatives and Rural Development (MAFTAFCRD) is committed to providing the lead support role and creating a favourable operating and economic environment for private sector investment in the national seed system. There are four types of seed system: formal, informal, relief, and community-based market-oriented. The formal seed system is less effective and operates mainly for imported seeds. Informal farmers’ seed and seed aid provide the largest portion of seed, reaching the majority of farmers.
The community-based market-oriented (CoBaMa) system is a strategic approach to the development of an integrated seed sector by combining local isolated experiences and linking seed sector stakeholders to a more efficient and sustainable seed sector aimed at supporting food and seed security through domestic seed production for increased productivity. Under this system, three farmer seed production initiatives were transformed into sustainable market-driven local seed businesses to address new crops and varieties, quality, marketing and organisational aspects. Lessons learned were used to develop seed for a development project. Currently, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) is supporting five crop breeding programmes (cassava, maize, rice, sorghum and cowpeas) and three seed companies (Century Seed, Green Belt Seed and Afroganics). The breeding programmes have short-term plans to quickly evaluate introduced improved crop varieties for release and adoption by the local farming communities to improve seed availability. Maize, rice and cassava programmes have a total of nine selected varieties for release – four maize, four rice and one cassava. These three programmes also bulk basic seeds and supply to the seed companies and some individual farmers. Three seed companies have begun seed multiplication, selling and awareness creation onthe use of quality seeds of improved crop varieties. Initiatives for the development of policies, rulesand regulations favourable for private seed sector development,including improvement of physical infrastructure, have started.