Uganda seed sector stakeholders have decried delayed finalization of the National Seed Policy as the biggest challenge in strengthening the seed quality control system in the country.
These seed stakeholders including Integrated Seed Sector Development(ISSD), NARO and Uganda Seed Traders Association (USTA) among others said that two years ago the Ministry of Agriculture promised to present before cabinet the National Seed Policy and put it in place but up to date the policy is nowhere to be seen.
The revelations were made this week d during the annual national seed stakeholders meeting in Kampala.
They stressed that government must prioritize finalization of the policy to support focus the operations of the seed sector.
They also cited other challenges which has failed the sector including lack of facilities of producing and processing seeds, poor funding, counterfeit seeds on the market and lack of seed inspectors among others.
They assert that a regulated seed sector will ensure increased food security, household income as a result of production from quality seed, consequently increasing the country’s agricultural export competitiveness.
Uganda has never had a seed policy. The colonial administration regulated the seed sector through Acts and Ordinances and the first legislation on Plant Seed, designed to prevent importation of cottonseed, was made in 1908. This was followed by a comprehensive Act, the Plant Protection Act/Ordinance No. 11, which came into force in 1937.
Post-independence governments have regulated seed quality and safety through the ministry responsible for the agricultural sector. Therefore, there is need to develop a seed policy that provides the legal framework for seed quality control and enforcement to regulate the seed sector in addition to the vision for the development of the seed sector.