USAID/SA Mission Director, John Groarke's closing remarks at the SADC Seed Meeting 2017

Speeches Shim

Thursday, November 16, 2017
FTF Seed Trade Meeting
USAID/SA Mission Director, John Groarke with Esaiah Tjelele, SADC/FANR Crops Officer
Seed Trade Project

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.

As the USAID/Southern Africa Mission Director, it is my distinct pleasure to join you on behalf of the US Government to mark the close of the 2017 SADC Seed Technical Meeting.

Let me begin by thanking the Government of South Africa for hosting this important regional event. I would like to thank Chairperson Ramashala for his stewardship over the last four days.  We are also extremely grateful to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) for its ongoing leadership and its hospitality towards Member States and implementing partners.

The U.S. government, through Feed the Future (FTF) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is proud to work closely with our partners in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to help implement the Southern Africa Seed Trade Project and organize significant regional gatherings like this one.

This meeting would not have been possible without the dedication and valuable contributions of our core partners in the SADC Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resources Directorate (FANR).  In particular, a great deal of thanks goes to Esaiah Tjelele for his ongoing commitment to the Seed Trade Project and making the Harmonized Seed Regulations a reality.

As you know, supporting agriculture production, eradicating poverty, and fostering economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa are critical policy priorities for the United States.  We very much appreciate our close cooperation with our colleagues at SADC and partners like you, as we work together to overcome the pressing obstacles facing the seed sector.

That is why the U.S. government, building on its bilateral programs, is engaged on several fronts across Southern Africa to improve harvests and food security.  Perhaps no intervention is more critical to the long-term health of seed development, agriculture, and local farming than the SADC Harmonized Seed Regulations System.

As you well know, seed is the fundamental input in the agricultural value chain, but lack of access to affordable high-quality seed holds back potential growth across the region.  When successful, systems like the SADC Harmonized Seed Regulations will grant farmers better access to quality seed at more affordable prices.  That is why regional gatherings like this Seed Technical Meeting are so critical.

It is our sincere hope that your participation in this important SADC Seed Technical Meeting has set the stage for expansion of the Harmonized Seed Regulations, and will lead to a revised SADC Pest List and a sustainable SADC Seed Centre.  When fully executed, these three policy measures can be game -changers for the seed industry and agriculture trade across the region.

In closing, on behalf of the US Government I would like to congratulate you and the Southern African Development Community for recognizing the pivotal role seed varieties, market integration, and value chains play in transforming agriculture.

I wish you all the best with your future seed endeavors and look forward to our ongoing partnership and collaboration.


Thank you.

Southern Sun Hotel, OR Tambo, Johannesburg
Issuing Country