WINDHOEK, 16 JUN – Agriculture minister Alpheus !Naruseb on Thursday tabled a draft law in the National Assembly (NA) which intends to regulate the production, processing, certification, marking and trade of seed in Namibia.
The Seed and Seed Varieties Bill provides for an institutional arrangement for testing and validating the quality of seed which are either domestically produced or imported.
!Nuruseb said the bill is part of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry’s longstanding efforts to develop a national seed industry.
“Countries without strong seed legislation will find it extremely difficult to regulate the import of seed and other related planting materials from other countries,” said !Naruseb in his motivation statement.
He said the enactment and implementation of the bill will enhance the seed industry and seed varieties development and prevent the entry and sale of unregistered seeds in the country.
The bill is comprised of nine main features on which the seed industry will be run upon its enactment. It would create the registrar of seed and seed varieties who will be responsible for registration of seed and seed varieties.
In addition, seed producers, processors and dealers will also be registered to ensure that they meet all the prescribed requirements relating to infrastructure, equipment and technical ability. The registration of seed dealers will ensure that only high quality and certified seed is distributed.
Also, a registration of horticulture nursery will be established to ensure nurseries meet all prescribed requirements.
Through the bill, the ministry will have control over imported and exported seeds to make sure it meets prescribed standards.
The bill would further establish the national seed council comprising of farmers, ministry representatives and seed dealers who will contribute in formulating policies and guidelines for the industry.
A seed varieties committee will be created to oversee the process regarding the release of new seed varieties.
Meanwhile, a national seed varieties register will be formed to keep and specify all kinds of seed variety that are eligible for sale in Namibia.
Lastly, there will be a seed certification service which will be tasked with quality assurance and control of seeds from their production to marketing.