Since 2008 FAO has been assisting member countries of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community – CEMAC (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Republic of Congo) in developing and harmonizing their seed regulatory framework. In the framework of this assistance, country studies on the seeds sector were conducted in 2008 and draft regulations on the harmonization of procedures regarding the production, quality control, certification and commercialization of seeds were elaborated and validated in the second quarter of 2010.
This was followed by the compilation of a regional seeds catalogue in August/September 2010, considered by CEMAC as an indispensable tool for promoting the maintenance and exchange of plant genetic resources between its member countries. From 20 to 24 of June 2011, national seeds experts and plant breeders from CEMAC countries met in Douala, Cameroon to validate the draft seeds catalogue. This catalogue includes 230 varieties belonging to twelve major plant species important for food security in Central Africa: millet, maize, sorghum, rice, groundnut, cowpea, cassava, sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, yams, plantain bananas and onion.
The catalogue will be submitted for approval to Agricultural Ministers of CEMAC member countries in September 2011 before publication. The results achieved thus far were possible thanks to close collaboration between the Seeds and Plant Genetic Resources team of FAO’s Plant Production and Protection Division (AGP), the FAO Sub-regional office for Central Africa (SFC), the Secretariat of the CEMAC Commission and PRASAC (‘Pôle Régional de Recherche Appliquée au Développement des Systèmes Agricoles d’Afrique Centrale’), a specialized institution of CEMAC charged with the responsibility of coordinating the seeds programme.