Institutionalizing Quality Declared Seed in Uganda
Bonny, R. Ntare
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Farmer-led seed enterprises can produce good quality seed and market it. However, for them to thrive, they need a conducive policy and regulatory framework that is inclusive and less stringent than existing regulatory frameworks. One way to provide a more enabling environment for farmer-led enterprises is through the Quality Declared Seed (QDS) production and marketing system. In Uganda, this seed class is specifically introduced for farmer-led enterprises to produce and market quality assured seed of crops and varieties not served by the private sector. The class is anchored in the Ugandan National Seed Policy and its seed regulations and its operationalization plan. We identified a combination of three strategies that enabled the QDS class to be incorporated into the National Seed Policy. These were: (i) to generate evidence to demonstrate that local seed businesses (farmer groups) can produce and market quality seed; (ii) to engage stakeholders towards an inclusive seed policy; and (iii) to develop a separate QDS regulatory framework. By 2021, institutionalization has reached a critical mass. Areas of attention for full institutionalization are the decentralization of inspection services, awareness and demand creation for quality seed, increasing the number of seed producers, and solving shortages of basic seed (starting material for producing seed).