Workshop held on “Validation of the revised and harmonized standards for seed system in DRC”
IITA organized on 4 April a workshop on “Validation of the revised and harmonized standards for healthy cassava planting materials production, control, and certification,” within the framework of the project Action to control the Cassava Brown Streak in Democratic Republic of Congo (CBSD-DRC).
The workshop was chaired by the General Secretary for the Ministry of Agriculture who officially opened the session. It registered the participation of several institutions involved in seed regulation, including the National Seed Service (SENASEM), the National Agricultural Research Institute (INERA), and IITA as well as donors such as Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the West Growth Pole Development Project (PDPC).
In his opening speech, the General Secretary of Agricultural Ministry, Mr Evariste Bushabu Bopeming, welcomed the efforts of IITA, INERA, and SENASEM, not only for the updating of standards for the production of healthy cassava stem, but also for the implementation of a strong seed system sector with the aim of agricultural production improvement in DRC. He pointed out that at the moment only seeds from registered varieties in the national catalog can be multiplied and marketed through the country. He also thanked the donors for their support throughout the years in providing the tools for good management of the cassava plant subsector in DRC.
Welcoming the participants, the Country Representative of IITA-DRC and Coordinator of the CBSD project, Nzola-Meso Mahungu, noted that for good productivity in the agricultural sector, Africa and in particular DRC need to produce quality seeds for the development of value chains. Hence, it was important to review and harmonize the national seed system standards for regulating healthy cassava plant production to allow the plant material producers to contribute more in fighting the brown streak disease, which is mainly spread by stem cutting exchanges, as well as other diseases.
Mahungu also used the opportunity to welcome the support of USAID in funding the promotion of cassava in Africa and particularly in DRC.
Delegates from USAID, IITA, INERA, University of Kinshasa, FAO, HarvestPlus, Ministry of Agriculture, SENASEM, National Service of Popularization (SNV), private sector, and youth were involved in this workshop.
The workshop was officially brought to a close by the Secretary General of Agriculture after the validation of the harmonized standards for seed system by the participants.