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Zim to host seed congress

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LOCAL seed houses have said they were ready to host the 2015 Africa Seed Trade Association (AFTSA) congress in Victoria Falls next month.
The event would be attended by 280 foreign delegates and is scheduled for March 2 to 5.

by TARISAI MANDIZHA

Addressing journalists in Harare yesterday, AFSTA vice-president Denias Zaranyika rallied local seed producers to pool their resources to ensure a successful congress that would also help market Zimbabwean products.

He said the formation of AFSTA arose out of the need to have a regional representative body for the seed industry, which
could also serve to promote the development of private seed enterprises.

“In terms of figures by the end of January 2015, 200 delegates had registered to attend the conference, which is a record in the history of AFSTA because such figures are normally achieved towards the end of February. Now we have about 300 delegates from over 50 different countries in the world, already the main hotel Elephant Hills Resort is already full,” Zaranyika said.

He said several representatives from the regional and international organisations confirmed to attend the congress including the International Seed Federation, Asia Pacific Seed Association, THE International Seed Testing Association, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Union for the Protection of New Plant Variety, Food and Agriculture Organisation, Common Market for East and Southern Africa, West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development and United States Agency for International Development.

“We are saying let’s all put our heads together, here is an opportunity for us to market Zimbabwe’s agriculture and to market Zimbabwe.

“We are excited we are hosting AFSTA in Zimbabwe this time around and we are going to have delegates coming from all over the world,” he said.

Zimbabwe Seed Trade Association president Walter Chigodora said the 2015 AFSTA congress was a major event forthe seed industry and was expected to attract key players from Africa and abroad to discuss current and future issues and trends in seed production and marketing.

“The purpose of AFSTA is to promote business and finding business opportunities for companies, promote trade for quality seeds and to strengthen communication with the rest of the world and also its good to be interacting with other countries so that we promote technology transfer,” Chigodora.

AFSTA is a non- profit making association which was formed in 1999 during an inaugural congress in Lilongwe, Malawi in order to champion interests of seed stakeholders in Africa. Currently the association has about 100 members comprising of seed companies and National Seed Trade Associations, among others.

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