AGP - detail
 
Project
TCP/RAF/3108 - Assistance to the formulation and initiation of the African Seed and Biotechnology Programme and Action Plan for its implementation
Project classifiers
TCP, Conservation Agriculture, Seeds, plant genetic resources, Food security
Summary text
The project aim to enable African farmers to have access to the benefits of advances in seed technology and biotechnology through the elaboration and implementation of the ASBP.
Full description

The overall objective of the project is to enable African farmers to have access to the benefits of advances in seed technology and biotechnology through the elaboration and implementation of the ASBP. This will be accomplished by building the capacity of the AU, its member countries and seed sector stakeholders to better understand the technical and policy issues related to seed and biotechnology, so that they can fully develop the Action Plan of the ASBP that will include a clear indication of detailed activities, timeframes and allocation of responsibilities for ASBP implementation.

The specific objectives are:

* to create a greater awareness of the technical and policy issues related to seed and biotechnology in Africa among policy makers of AU, its member countries and seed sector stakeholders so that they can fully participate in the development of the Action Plan for the elaboration of the ASBP document;
* to develop the Action Plan that will result in a fully developed ASBP document through a participatory process of consultations with a range of stakeholders (national, regional, international) through workshops using the most applicable strategy;
* prepare specific project profiles on the various components of the programme that require extra budgetary funding and design a meeting with the AU to solicit donors’ support.

During the 5th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) in Sirte, Libya, in July 2005, the need to formulate an Africa-wide seed and biotechnology programme was recommended as one of the priority areas for the development of Africa. Consequently, FAO proposed an African Seed and Biotechnology Programme (ASBP) which was presented to the Twenty-fourth Africa Regional Conference of FAO which met from 30 to 31 January 2006 in Bamako, Mali. The programme concept, as proposed by FAO and endorsed by the Conference, proposes an integrated approach and aims at providing a strategy for the comprehensive development of the seed sector and biotechnology in Africa, taking into account the different needs of the countries and regions (see summary in Annex 5). The meeting requested the development of an Action Plan (see Annex 3 main components of the Action Plan) that specifies the elements to be fully developed in the ASBP document including detailed activities, timeframes and allocation of responsibilities, institutional arrangements, etc. as well as the participatory consultation process.
The envisaged ASBP programme asserts that Africa needs to take full advantage of the recent advances in seed technology and biotechnology and overcome weak seed production and distribution systems. Major weaknesses such as inadequate supply of quality seed, lack of access to improved germplasm, seed trade constraints and weak entrepreneurial capacity of small- and medium-size seed enterprises need to be confronted. Further, inadequate implementation of seed policies and international agreements and conventions must be addressed.


The project will assist the AU and its member countries to fully develop the Action Plan that will result in a fully developed ASBP document. Under the auspices of AU, FAO experts will provide the necessary technical support and work with the AU member countries to reach a consensus on the programme and its implementation. The initial working document shall be the draft ASBP document which has been discussed between FAO and AU at the beginning of the project.

The workshop methodology will follow a participatory process (provisional programme attached in Annex 4).  In order to gather regional and international together with national experts, the workshop will be held back to back with the planned Conference of Ministers of Agriculture in October 2006. The initial part of the workshop will be presentations and discussion to create a greater awareness of the technical and policy issues related to seed and biotechnology in Africa. This will be followed by a detailed discussion of the Action Plan that includes the major points that need to be elaborated in the ASBP document. Working groups will be formed in order to collect and collate input from national experts as well as experts from public/private sectors, NARs/CGIAR centres, development agencies and experts of Regional Economic Communities (RECs) comprising the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Arab Maghreb Union (UAM). Furthermore men and women farmers from selected farmers’ associations will also participate in the meeting.

This consultation workshop will help to highlight the main technical issues as well as the policy and strategies to address them. In addition, it will also identify and fill gaps in the draft ASBP document. The key elements of the consultation process are to create an awareness of the ASBP, determine priorities at national, subregional and continental level, determine how it can complement ongoing or planned projects and initiatives and determine gaps that the programme needs to focus on.  After the consultation workshop, the ASBP document will be developed according to the Action Plan based on the input of the workshop by the consultants, AU, the Seed and Plant Genetic Resources Service (AGPS) and Research and Technology Development Service (SDRR) staff and in consultation with the workshop participants as needed. The draft document will be circulated to workshop participants for their review and comments. The final version of the ASBP document will be tabled for discussion and adoption at the meeting of the African Heads of State in July 2007. In addition, project profiles will be prepared and a donor meeting will be planned.

The main elements of the work plan are summarized as follows:

a) Recruitment of consultants and initial consultations with the AU: Two senior consultants (retirees), with pertinent technical and field experience, will be recruited.  The two consultants will immediately visit the African Union for two/three working days for consultations/discussions on the ASBP concept paper and how to develop it into a framework for discussion at the workshop and the most appropriate strategy for developing the components outlined in the Action Plan.
b) Preparation of a framework for the development of the ASBP document as per the Action Plan: Based on initial discussions with the AU and in consultation with AGPS and SDRR technical officers, the two consultants will prepare a revised framework for the ASBP document based on the Action Plan to facilitate the discussion at the expert consultation workshop. This will include AGPS technical input on seed systems, information systems, policy and legal aspect, Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (PGRFA) and biotechnology and SDRR technical input in research and extension aspects. The design of the participatory workshop and related technical materials will also be developed.
c) Expert consultation workshop: With guidance from AU and FAO, the consultants will develop an appropriate participatory stakeholders’ consultation process to be conducted during training workshops to develop the ASBP document as per the Action Plan. The three-day expert consultation workshop will be held back to back with the meeting of the African States Ministers for Agriculture to be held in Libreville, Gabon, in October 2006. The meeting will bring together national experts who will be accompanying the ministers to the meeting as well as representatives from the following:
­ specialized institutions and agencies such as the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD);
­ RECs: Southern African Development Community (SADC), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), Communauté Économique et Monétaire de l'Afrique Centrale (CEMAC) and  Union Africaine et Malgache (UAM);
­ Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and subregional research organizations (CORAF, ASARECA, SACCAR);
­ African Agricultural Technology Foundation;
­ African Seed Trade Association
­ African Development Bank;
­ Rockefeller Foundation;
­ selected CGIAR Centres including IPGRI;
­ selected universities
­ men and women farmers representing some  selected farmers’ associations;
­ selected extension agencies;
­ other organizations as appropriate.
It will enable the consultants, AGPS and SDRR to provide a forum for presentation of key concepts of the ASBP, and an exchange of ideas to create a greater awareness of the technical and policy issues related to seed and biotechnology. The views/ideas and consensus of all stakeholders will contribute to the development of the Action Plan that will be in the relevant sections of the ASBP document. The inclusion of RECs will bring together the views of experts from REC member states.
d) Preparation of the ASBP document as per the Action Plan with input from the expert consultation workshop
Based on the input and recommendation of the expert consultation, the consultants, in close consultation with the AU, AGPS and SDRR technical officers, will draft the ASBP document based on the Action Plan. This draft document will be circulated to the participants in the expert consultation workshop and other relevant services of FAO for their comments.
e) Preparation, distribution and presentation of draft version of ASBP document
The finalized ASBP document will be forwarded to member states ahead of the African Heads of States’ meeting, which will take place in July 2007. The document will be tabled for discussion and adoption by AU member states.
f) Preparation of project profiles: In consultations with pertinent stakeholders, specific project profiles will be prepared for the key elements of the ASBP including biotechnology; plant genetic resources and varietal development; and seed industry development.
g) Donor meeting: There is a need to organize a donor meeting in Addis Ababa to present the programme to the donor community including those which already participated in the consultation meeting, with a view to securing financial support and raising the required funds for the implementation of the programme. The consultants, in collaboration AU and other pertinent stakeholders, will design a donor meeting that will take place after the conclusion of the project. Preliminary discussion with colleagues from TCAP have indicated that the topic and the scope of the programme are in line with the multi-donor funding interest, and they are therefore willing  to assist in the fund raising exercise.

 

Project outputs/results/impact

i) A three-day expert consultation workshop with participation from the 53 AU member countries and relevant regional and sub-regional organizations held back to back with the meeting of the African States Ministers for Agriculture in Libreville, Gabon, in October 2006 to create greater awareness amongst policy makers, and stakeholders on the technical and policy issues related to the development of seed and biotechnology in Africa and strategies to overcome the issues;
ii) an Action Plan that will be included in a fully developed African Seed and Biotechnology Programme document made available and endorsed by AU member states and partner stakeholders; the Action Plan complements other existing initiatives (ongoing CEMAC-FAO activities on biotechnology; national TC and TF projects on research capacity building and national biosafety frameworks; FARA; and subregional research organizations affiliated or not with FARA).
iii) at least three project profiles covering brief description of intended interventions in key areas (biotechnology; plant genetic resources and varietal development; and seed industry development) and showing beneficiaries, outputs and implementation strategy and budget prepared and circulated by the AU to potential donors and governments for funding.

Project duration
Aug 2007 - Dec 2009
Project budget
181,455 USD
AGP Contact
Dr. Robert Guei Gouantoueu Agricultural officer, plant production and Protection Division(AGP) Room C715, FAO, Rome Italy Tel. (0039) 06570 54920, Fax. (0039) 06570 56347
Project partner information

­Specialized institutions and agencies such as the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD);
­RECs: Southern African Development Community (SADC), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), Communauté Économique et Monétaire de l'Afrique Centrale (CEMAC) and  Union Africaine et Malgache (UAM);
­Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and subregional research organizations (CORAF, ASARECA, SACCAR);
­African Agricultural Technology Foundation;
­African Seed Trade Association;
­African Development Bank;
­Rockefeller Foundation;
­Sselected CGIAR Centres including IPGRI;
­Sselected universities;
­Men and women farmers representing some  selected farmers’ associations;
­Selected extension agencies;
­Other organizations as appropriate;

Project website