FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

FAO assists seed system management in four countries of southern Europe and Central Asia

©FAO/Giorgio Cosulich


Seed quality management, seed policy frameworks, and principles and elements for seed quality assurance and certification were the main topics during a four-day workshop just conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Yerevan, Armenia. Senior national specialists and policymakers from Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, North Macedonia and Tajikistan attended the training, which concluded on 17 March.

All four countries face similar issues, including hampered seed production, distribution and quality assurance systems and bottlenecks caused by a lack of good seed policy on key issues.

“To address these issues, the project supports the improvement of countries’ seed system in a programmatic way by enhancing national capacities on planting material and seed certification systems, laboratory testing for quality control, and developing and adapting methodologies for testing new varieties and promoting cooperation and knowledge sharing between countries,” said Tania Santivanez, FAO Regional Agricultural Officer.

The training incorporated information on seed system management and related aspects, including legal frameworks and seed registration, certification and testing. It also included a practical seed testing laboratory and field visits to a breeding station in Gyumri and seed producing farms in the Gegharkunik region. The initiative was hosted by the Centre for Agricultural Research and Certification state non-commercial organization under the Ministry of Economy of Armenia.

FAO plays a lead role in strengthening the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture through policy assistance, technical support and the raising of awareness. This training was organized as part of FAO’s “Creating enabling environments for enhanced climate resilience in agriculture” project, which aims to enhance seed systems and build national seed management capacities in beneficiary countries. The project also aims to enhance the production and usage of high-quality and tolerant seeds to strengthen climate-resilient seed systems through strengthening the capacities of national professionals and producers. Reliable seed systems are necessary for ensuring food security and sustainable agrifood systems.

Since the start of this project in Armenia in the spring of 2020, the project has helped to:

●       conduct a legal review of Armenian seed systems;

●       conduct a seed system evaluation in collaboration with the National Seed Agency;

●       develop a data analysis report on the assessment of a national seed system, farm-based approaches and climate-resilient agricultural practices;

●       organize seed multiplication training courses in two regions; and

●       organize a study tour and set of trainings for selected experts on breeding and seed certification.