Seeds bring new life to Vanuatu's agriculture sector

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Photo Credit: Vanuatu Department of Agriculture and Rural Development

Timely access to affordable seeds for farmers in Vanuatu will now be available after the Vanuatu Seed Systems Strategy Validation Workshop, facilitated by the Pacific Community (SPC), last month.

SPC’s Land Resources Division’s (LRD) Seeds for Life (PS4L) programme together with its stakeholders in Vanuatu discussed the challenges of the country’s seed sector by examining the development of a seed policy that will guide genetic purity, quality and distribution of seeds.

The national seed council set up during the workshop was Vanuatu’s first step to paving the way forward for the seed system in the country.   It will oversee all seed system activities, both public and private sectors, to ensure that seed production, processing, distribution and handling follow the required seed quality standards.

SPC Land Resources Division’s Director, Karen Mapusua said the setup of the Council is commendable and will play a key role in developing a robust seed system in Vanuatu through efficient and effective joint collaborations.

“A seed system provides the foundation for sustainable agriculture and agricultural resilience as it ensures farmers have timely access to affordable quality seeds and planting materials for their most suitable crops,” she said. “It fosters sustainable livelihoods for communities and countries as a whole and ensures swift and sustainable post-disaster recovery.”

As with other Pacific Island States and Territories, Vanuatu is highly vulnerable to climate change and food and nutrition insecurity. Effective seed systems are crucial for ensuring that plant genetic resources are available, accessible, and usable. Studies in Vanuatu provinces have revealed that lack of access to quality seeds, and the greater availability of substandard seeds, has affected the country’s agricultural sector, which 80 percent of the population relies on for income.

Through the PS4L project, SPC LRD will work with Vanuatu on supporting development of a national seed policy that ensures the production and use of quality seeds for local and improved crop varieties. PS4L will also work to identify seed champions and train them on quality seed production, as well as creating a formidable network of seed champions and stakeholders to nourish a viable and sustainable seed system.

The seeds workshop brought together stakeholders from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity, Vanuatu Agriculture College and the Vanuatu Agriculture Research and Training Centre, as well as research partners and SPC consultants that joined virtually via Zoom.

The  next step for the seed council is to determine the roles of all involved individuals, organizations and government departments.     

Media contact:
James Kemsey, Information, Communications and Knowledge Management Advisor, Pacific Community's (SPC) Land Resources Division I E: [email protected] 
Matilda Simmons, Communications Assistant, Pacific Community's (SPC) Land Resources Division I E: [email protected] 

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