East Africa: seed policies

Isaac Minde
issue brief addendum

The countries of Eastern and Central Africa are heavily dependent on agriculture, and seeds are a key input in agricultural production.Yet in each country in Eastern and Central Africa, the seed industry faces different laws, standards, and regulations, which are costly to meet. Some of the laws, regulations, and administrative and technical procedures that each country imposes are restrictive, impede trade,
and place unjustifiably discriminatory demands on importers, exporters, and even domestic producers of seed. If agriculture is to be competitive in Eastern and Central Africa, then the seed industry within the region needs to be improved. Harmonizing the countries’ seed laws, policies, standards, and regulations could help establish a regional market with enough demand to stimulate a viable and efficient seed industry. A regional seed market would, among other things, promote regional trade,
create economies of scale for developing and marketing seeds, and prevent negative spillover effects from seed systems in neighboring countries, such as the introduction of harmful seeds.The Seed Initiative of the Eastern and Central Africa Programme for Agricultural Policy Analysis (ECAPAPA) was undertaken to address the challenge of harmonizing seed policies and regulations in the region.