Africa’s largest trading bloc said on Friday that it has developed seed labels and certificates to be utilized by seed companies for large consignment crossing the borders.

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) said the move is intended to spur regional trade through improved seed varieties across the region.

John Mukuka, the Seed Expert at the COMESA Alliance of Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa (ACTESA), the certificates will be given to a seed company upon verification that a Seed Lot is of a released variety on the regional catalogue.

“Seed exporting companies will be issued with a COMESA Regional Seed Certificate to confirm they are qualified,” Mukuka said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

He said the procurement of the labels and certificates will be done in the course of July and ready for use in August 2017.

Samples of the labels and certificates were on Thursday presented to a one day meeting of regional seed companies and National Seed Review teams from seven COMESA Member States that have aligned their national seed laws to the COMESA Seed Policies.

Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi participated in the meeting alongside 20 seed companies in the eastern and southern Africa region.

The COMESA seed labels are based on the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and will apply to four seed classes: Pre-basic Seed, Basic Seed, Certified Seed (1st Generation) and Certified Seed (2nd Generation).

The labels and certificates are designed to certify the seeds as having been produced in accordance with all the requirements the COMESA Seed Certification System as provided by the COMESA Seed Trade Harmonization Regulations.

The labels will be tagged on bags of seeds that will be traded across the countries that have aligned their national seed laws with COMESA harmonized laws.

Currently, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Zimbabwe have completed aligning their national seed laws while Malawi and Zambia are in final stages of the process. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh