BUJUMBURA August 20th (ABP) – The African Seed Access Index (TASAI), a seed research initiative of Market Matters Incorporated (MM Inc.) and Cornell University of the United States of America America, held in Bujumbura on Monday August 16th, a workshop whose objective was to present this organization to the seed industry of Burundi, to get informed on the methodology and expected results of TASAI and to consider opportunities for synergy and collaboration in the use of expected results, to inform stakeholders on seed industry reforms.
TASAI focuses on four main cereal and vegetable crops in each country, Mugoya said, adding, the tool is based on twenty indicators that fall into five categories: research and development, competitiveness of industry, seed policy and regulation, institutional support and services to smallholder farmers. To date, TASAI has conducted research in thirteen African countries and the current phase of expansion, scheduled for October next year, will cover eight other countries including Burundi.According to the TASAI program coordinator, Mr. Mainza Mugoya, the organization is conducting an assessment of the structure and economic performance of formal seed sectors in the target countries. The study on Burundi, which will provide baseline data on maize, sorghum, wheat, rice, potato, cassava leaves, is part of TASAI’s current expansion which should, according to Mugoya, be realized next November. The timely availability of improved seeds at affordable prices is essential for increasing agricultural productivity in Africa, he said. This will provide farmers with advanced technologies with disease and pest resistant varieties for higher yields, greater adaptation to climate change and improve nutrition.
It is worth mentioning that TASAI’s work in Burundi is supported by the African Development Bank (AfDB) under the TAAT program (Tehnologies for African Agricultural Transformation). The general objective of this bank is to rapidly improve agriculture as a business in Africa by providing technologies to improve agricultural productivity.