Presentation on theme: "A PRESENTATION AT THE REGIONAL SEED SECURITY WORKSHOP HELD AT KOPANONG HOTEL, JOHANNESBURG ON 20-21 MAY, 2010 BY ABIEL BANDA CHAIRMAN FOR ASSMAG."— Presentation transcript:
A PRESENTATION AT THE REGIONAL SEED SECURITY WORKSHOP HELD AT KOPANONG HOTEL, JOHANNESBURG ON MAY, 2010 BY ABIEL BANDA CHAIRMAN FOR ASSMAG
ASSMAG stands for Association of Smallholder Seed Multiplication Action Group based organization mandated to multiply and sell open pollinated variety (OPV) Maize seed and some legume seeds. Have also expanded to disease free cassava cuttings, sweet potato vines, improved fruit tree seedlings and Agro-forestry seedlings. Was established in 2001 with eight (8) affiliate associations which fall under eight (8) Agriculture Development Divisions (ADDs), forty nine (49) Seed Marketing Action Group (SMAGs) with 2450 seed growers country wide of which 40% are women seed producers. ASSMAG works as a coordinating body for smallholder seed producers. Started as a Ministry of Agriculture/Donor community initiative called Maize Productivity Taskforce Action Group II for the increased seed production of improved varieties in Average production levels of ASSMAG is 20% of the total national seed production which comprises entire membership of Seed Traders Association of Malawi, but its market share is currently 10%. ASSMAG membership cuts across all the country’s ecological zones. This, in itself, gives ASSMAG an edge over others in producing a variety of seed crops. ASSMAG is full member of the lone country’s seed organisation called Seed Traders Association in Malawi (STAM)which is a private sector seed companies grouping.
VISION To become a household name in high quality seed production and marketing through empowerment of its members to satisfy national seed requirements. MISSION STATEMENT To provide customers with high quality and affordable seed of superior performance that would add value to its members and contribute to food security requirement. MAJOR GOAL To operate as a sustainable seed programme in the country through the commercialization of its operations.
Research Related Constraints Research centers do not have enough foundation seed and planting materials for improved crop varieties for smallholder farmers to multiply due to inadequate financial resources. Seed Services Unit does not have enough resources to carry out its mandatory seed inspections as per their required frequency and schedules. Due to resource constraints small scale seed producers do not receive much needed annual training sessions vis-à-vis seed production to maximise required seed quantity and quality. Until now, the national policy is not very clear on plant breeders rights (PBR) to the extent that a particular variety is used free for all without control as opposed to other privately owned brands.
ASSMAG suffers a huge transportation bill in a bid to centralise maize for processing and taking it back to selected market outlets hence considerably reducing on the growers profit margins. Another challenge faced by ASSMAG seed producers is accessibility by potential buyers if such seed has not been collected by its Secretariat. Seed Promotion costs are unattainable by small scale seed. This renders otherwise good seed produced by small scale farmers but remaining unknown and unsold due to lack of aggressive promotional campaigns. ASSMAG lacks centralised warehouse facility for seed stocks re- handling, fumigation and storage prior to distribution to ensure quality uniformity. ASSMAG has no processing plant of its own to process its raw seed. However, when it is required to process its seed, it hires such services from other seed companies which come along with high costs and having the service at a later time than when we require it most.
AGRA Support to ASSMAG under Program for Africa’s Seed Systems (PASS) - The project has support on Seed Production and Dissemination. -Comprises major activities of Production, Processing, Farmer education and Dissemination. -Under PASS, ASSMAG is promoting legumes, OPV and, for the first time, hybrid maize seed of MH26 which is at bulking stage now.
Research Into Use (RIU) support to ASSMAG under Legume Seed Platform -This focuses on Breeders/Basic seed multiplication of Groundnuts, Beans and Soya Beans. -Major activities comprises Production, Farmer Training and seed Marketing. The preceding engagements highlighted above are a clear testimony that ASSMAG is not only an opportunity on its own but is fully capable of handling any major projects to do with seed production.
.Socio-economic improvement of the seed producing farmers. Complemented seed companies in making available improved seed varieties of superior performance and at affordable prices, hence contributing to the fight of food insecurity. Seed producers have continuously received relevant training in seed production and dissemination and hence increasing their knowledge base. Complementing government efforts in its Input Subsidy Programme by making available some seeds which would otherwise not have been there. Creating a readily available widow for production of seeds which are newly introduced or are in urgent demand.