Ministry of Food and Agric develops manual for crop variety release

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) has developed a manual on procedures for the release and registration of crop varieties in the country.

The document clearly defines the sequence of processes, interfaces and responsibilities that are required.

This is in conformity with the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) sub-regional harmonization effort on genetic materials.

The sub-regional initiative is spearheaded by the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP) to aid member countries to pool and share resources in crop variety development and encourage cross-border movement of genetic materials.

Speaking to newsmen on the sidelines of a meeting of committee of experts, who drafted the document at Fumesua on Thursday, Mr Delali Nutsukpo, Deputy Director of Crop Services of MOFA, said the harmonization process would come out with a framework to prepare the grounds for finalizing the movement of crop varieties and materials across the West Africa sub-region.

He said as part of the process, a crop registration system would be developed and a common catalogue of all released crop varieties established to enable member countries to have access to variety of information.

Mr Nutsukpo, who is the lead facilitator of the document, said currently there were no laws or formal procedures for the movement of crop varieties or materials in the sub-region.

This had resulted in a situation where some countries adopted and used crop varieties developed and released by other countries without acknowledging the country of origin.

He said the harmonization would help to maintain the nationality of the crop variety and identity of the material developed and released while providing opportunity for countries that would find the released varieties suitable for cultivation.

Dr Joe Manu-Aduening, Crop Research Institute (CRI)-WAAPP Coordinator, said the harmonization was part of an effort to respond to some of the ECOWAS protocols, especially the movement of goods and services.

He said easy movement and access to crop varieties would assist to increase food production and sustainable food security in the sub-region.

Source: GNA

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