Tanzania Soars in Seed Production: World-Class Quality Reaps Benefits

By Kilimokwanza.org Reporter

Tanzania’s agricultural sector is experiencing a golden age, driven by the production of world-class seeds. The Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) prioritizes high-quality seeds as the cornerstone of a thriving agricultural industry, ensuring food security and a robust commercial scene. At the forefront of this movement is the Tanzania Official Seed Certification Institute (TOSCI), which champions quality seeds, thereby protecting farmers’ livelihoods.

Director General Patrick Ngwediagi recognizes the critical role that seed quality plays in enhancing crop yields. Under his leadership, TOSCI has spearheaded groundbreaking initiatives in seed certification and regulation. Their meticulous approach, including rigorous inspections throughout the seed production and sale process, guarantees the quality of seeds and combats the prevalence of counterfeit seeds, thus safeguarding farmers’ investments.

In an innovative move inspired by the Tanzania Bureau of Standards, TOSCI introduced mandatory quality labels for seed sellers. This ingenious solution has effectively combated the prior prevalence of fake packaging and ineffective treated seeds. “The Label tool has proven immensely beneficial,” Ngwediagi explains. “There’s been a dramatic decrease in counterfeit seeds, highlighting the clear link between labels and market integrity.”

Tanzania has achieved a remarkable feat: full compliance with international seed quality standards. This accomplishment places them among the top five African countries in this arena. Additionally, Tanzania’s national seed laboratory received ISTA accreditation in May 2018, eliminating the need for retesting elsewhere and fostering trust with international partners.

The country’s commitment to excellence is further solidified by successfully undergoing rigorous inspections to maintain its esteemed international standing. They’ve also expanded their focus to include field seed inspection, ensuring integrity from seed release onwards.

Furthermore, Tanzania has engaged with the Organization for Industrial, Commercial, and Developmental Certification (OICD) seed schemes, allowing their seeds to be exported without additional labeling. This collaboration highlights their proactive approach to exceeding international standards.

Protecting innovation is at the heart of Tanzania’s strategy, with its involvement with the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) safeguarding intellectual property rights for seed inventors. Ngwediagi’s leadership as UPOV’s chairman in 2019 underscores Tanzania’s active role on the international stage.

The adherence to international standards has yielded a significant benefit: increased foreign and local investment. Seed exports have seen a notable rise, with Kenya being a recent success story, evidencing Tanzania’s burgeoning reputation as a seed powerhouse.

With 81% of seeds used in Tanzania now produced domestically, a substantial increase from previous years, the country is showcasing the industry’s immense potential and undergoing a remarkable transformation. Driven by a commitment to world-class seed production, and with TOSCI’s leadership and international partnerships, Tanzania is poised to become a leading force in the global seed market.