Feed the Future Southern Africa Seed Trade Project

Client: U.S. Agency for International Development

Duration: 2015-2021

Region: Sub-Saharan Africa

Country: Regional

Solutions: Economic Growth

The Feed the Future Southern Africa Seed Trade Project is designed to increase the availability of high-quality seed of improved varieties to farmers in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) to improve yields and increase food security and nutrition. The Seed Trade Project provides diverse assistance to implement the SADC Harmonized Seed Regulations (HSR) to foster seed trade across the region and integrate smaller and isolated national seed markets into a larger, more efficient SADC-wide seed market. The Seed Trade Project also helps policy-makers put in place the mechanisms needed to improve access to high-quality, affordable seed—allowing smallholder farmers and large private sector producers to grow more food at cheaper prices for consumers across the region.

Located in Gaborone, Botswana, Pretoria, South Africa, and Lusaka, Zambia, the Seed Trade Project supports activities in three Feed the Future focus countries: Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia; and is also active in Zimbabwe, an aligned Feed the Future country. However, many regional project activities will benefit all 15 SADC Member States. The Seed Trade Project provides targeted technical assistance to facilitate implementation of SADC’s Harmonized Seed Regulations (HSR).

Sample Activities

  • Promote SADC ownership of the harmonized seed regulations (HSR) process by strengthening national and regional institutions.
  • Build the capacity of the SADC Seed Centre to provide technical assistance to national agencies and engage the private sector.
  • Assist the SADC Seed Centre to develop a sustainable business model for HSR.
  • Support the development of SADC regional seed catalog, seed lot certification and SADC package labeling.
  • Synchronize assistance in Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa Seed Harmonisation Implementation Plan.
  • Transfer technology and management practices that prioritize and scale up regional variety registration and seed certification models.

Select Results

  • Established the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Seed Committee.
  • Launched the Seed Control and Certification Institute Online Seed Lab in Zambia.
  • Supported Zambia’s accession to the SADC Harmonized Seed Regulatory System.
  • Launched grant to the Association for the Promotion of the Seed Sector (APROSE), for the implementation of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Harmonised Seed Regulatory System in Mozambique.
  • Facilitated inaugural Hybrid Maize Seed produced under the Harmonized Seed Regulatory Systems, the first export of a nongenetically modified organism hybrid maize seed easily produced in Zambia, but not in the mineral-rich the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • Facilitated review of the SADC Seed Centre Sustainability Business Model and its Implementation Plan along with approval of both. The plan focuses on activities with potential to trigger multiple streams of revenue for the SADC Seed Centre, laying the groundwork for self-reliance and long-term sustainability.
  • Trained more than 1,500 individuals on SADC Harmonized Seed Regulatory Systems’ seed variety release, seed certification and quality assurance, quarantine and phytosanitary measures for seed, and improved business management practices.
  • Engaged with 13 seed companies and now have 55 seed varieties registered on the SADC Variety Catalogue—Maize, Irish Potato, Sorghum, Soybean, Beans, Wheat, Ground Nuts, and Cotton—and they are all eligible for regional trade.
  • Transferred a total of six technologies to SADC Member States, including three online seed certification systems, new management practice/laboratory technology, and new seed varieties.
  • Assisted Zimbabwe Super Seeds to successfully produce and export improved seed under regional guidelines.


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