SAA showcased its Interventions for Sustainable Agriculture at AFSTA Congress 2024

SAA staff explaining our work to a booth visitor
SAA staff explaining our work to a booth visitor

The AFSTA (African Seed Trade Association) Congress holds great significance within the agricultural sector, with a specific focus on seed trade in Africa. AFSTA, of which the Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA) is a member, firmly believes that the economic progress of African countries relies on establishing a robust seed sector. It advocates for the integration of modern technologies in agricultural processes to achieve this objective.

The 24th African Seed Trade Association (AFSTA) Annual Congress in 2024, serving as a showcase for the African seed sector, attracted 300 delegates representing seed traders, producers, and partners from various regions of the world. The congress, hosted at the PrideInn Paradise Beach Hotel & Resort in Mombasa, Kenya, commenced on March 6, 2024, inaugurated by Honorable Linturi Mithika, Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development.

Honorable Mithika Linturi, as Guest of Honor, commended AFSTA for its consistent organization of the seed fair, providing opportunities for seed stakeholders to strengthen their business relationships and engage in vital discussions on the seed industry. He highlighted that through the congress and AFSTA’s efforts, farmers have gained access to innovative technologies, enhancing productivity and bolstering food and nutrition security. Honorable Linturi also praised AFSTA for its role in establishing harmonized seed regulations in the continent.

Dr. Kulani Machaba, the immediate past President of AFSTA, emphasized the need for the African seed sector to position itself to leverage the projected $4.18 billion worth of opportunities by 2030. He noted that the sector is currently growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 5% as of 2024. Dr. Machaba underscored the importance of increasing the number of farmers accessing certified seed varieties, as only 23% of smallholder farmers in COMESA currently have such access. He identified persistent challenges such as low investment in research and development, lengthy variety registration processes, and weak funding of public research institutes and testing stations, emphasizing the need for collaborative efforts to overcome them.

At the congress, the Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA) was represented by Ms. Yalemzewed Teshome, Market Oriented Agriculture Coordinator at SAA-Ethiopia, and Ms. Ethiopia Tadesse, Head of Communication and Advocacy. SAA’s exhibition at the congress attracted numerous visitors, including Honorable Linturi Mithika, providing a platform for productive discussions for potential partnerships aimed at enhancing access to quality seeds in Africa.

The congress featured presentations, panel discussions, and networking opportunities, enabling participants to exchange knowledge, showcase new technologies, and foster collaborations to advance the seed industry and improve agricultural practices on the continent.

The next Congress is scheduled to take place in Kigali, Rwanda, from the 3rd to the 5th of March 2025.

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