FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

Ensuring quality seeds when the need is greatest

At an FAO webinar, seed experts discussed the impacts of COVID-19 on seed systems – the primary basis for human sustenance – and potential action to mitigate these. The recording of the virtual event is available online.

Food production depends on the availability, accessibility, and quality of seeds. Although the COVID-19 crisis’ effects on seed systems have not appeared immediately, they could be long-lasting, making timely measures crucial in preventing further deterioration of food insecurity.

Seeds play a fundamental role in food systems, ensuring food security and supporting the livelihoods of farmers and others,” said Tania Santivanez, FAO agricultural officer. “In some countries, seed systems are more vulnerable than others. In this context, the purpose of the webinar is to exchange information and experiences on the seed system during the pandemic to support countries in making timely measures, and finding new opportunities for Europa and Central Asia.”

Plants account for over 80 percent of the human diet and nutrition. In many countries, farmers do not yet benefit from the advantages of using quality seed due to a combination of factors, including inefficient seed production, distribution, and quality assurance systems, as well as the lack of good seed policies and other regulatory instruments.

To address these constraints, FAO brought together a wide range of partners for the webinar Seed systems during COVID-19: Challenges and opportunities for Europe and Central Asia to enhance seed systems and encourage linkages between the relevant actors.

Speakers included: Wilson Hugo, FAO agricultural officer; Andreas Melikyan of the Armenian National Agrarian University; Aida Jamangulova, Director of the Agency of Development Initiatives; and Szabolcs Ruthner of the International Seed Federation; in addition to many others.

The webinar is part of an FAO project aiming to create enabling environments for enhanced climate resilience in agriculture in Armenia, Kyrgyz Republic, North Macedonia, and Tajikistan that has a special focus on seed systems and ensuring the proper seed supply at national level.

The webinar is part of an FAO series of regional COVID-19 webinars.

 19 November 2020, Budapest, Hungary