(Tetum) Twelve farmers’ associations in Baucau, Lautem and Viqueque received their official MAF Seed Department registration certificates qualifying them as Commercial Seed Producers (CSPs) last week, bringing the total of registered producers nationwide to 31.
That’s a 10 times expansion of the three initial CSPs licensed to produce seed last cropping.
The Vice Minister for the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Marcus da Cruz, distributed the registration certificates on 20 December at an event at the MAF-Seeds of Life seed warehouse at Triloka, Baucau.
“There are now 31 registered producers across Timor-Leste who are officially authorized to produce quality commercial seed under the carefully controlled conditions set out in the CSP Guidelines of the National Seed System for Released Varieties (NSSRV),” he said at the event attended by farmers, community members and MAF-SoL staff.
“This means that the process of development in agricultural areas has been running primarily on the seed. Because the seed is something that is very important for the development of food security.”
The 31 registered commercial seed producers will produce 200 tons of high quality commercial maize, rice and peanut seed in 2014.
“Seed produced by Commercial Seed Producer is a quality seed that production process is controlled by MAF. In the future seeds produced by these groups will be purchased by the government in order to reduce the seed is purchased from overseas,” said the Vice Minister
Regina Amaral, Chief of “Waiteque” group said “I was pleased with the certificate obtained because it is a trust given to me to produce quality rice seeds of Nakroma that will be sold to earn some income that will be used to support my families as well as to purchase agricultural equipment.”
Arthur Xavier, Farmer Association “Tane Fini” from Viqueque said, “This certificate is a license for farmers’ associations which indicate that farmer’s association is only to produce seed and quality assurance that can be sold to other farmers. I really like the system established by MAF so we can help stop the seed imported from overseas”
History made as first commercial seed producer registered in Manufahi
Earlier this month the first farmers’ association in Manufahi registered as a commercial seed producer, which was celebrated at an event on 11 December.
The Rai Koto farmers association from Suco Simpang Tiga, Manufahi, received its certificate from MAF at the event attended by farmers and MAF-SoL staff.
“Seed produced by Commercial Seed Producer is a quality seed that production process is controlled by MAF. In the future seeds produced by these groups will be purchased by the government in order to reduce the seed is purchased from overseas.”
In previous years Rai Koto farmers worked as three separate Community Seed Production Groups (CSPG), which provided them with two years’ experience in locally producing high quality Sele maize seed for their own seed needs.
The association named itself after the former name of the village used before Indonesian times. Simpang tiga, which means three paths in Bahasa Indonesia, has always been a crossroads between the districts of Ainaro, upper Manufahi and one descends to the south coast plains.
Registration allows producers to sell commercial seed
Under the NSSRV, registered seed producers multiply certified seed according to MAF’s quality assurance guidelines to produce large quantities of branded and truthfully labeled commercial seed.
Registration as a commercial seed producer lasts for five years and is open to individual farmers, private companies and farmers’ associations that meet the criteria, maintain the strict quality control guidelines of MAF Seed Department and pass its spot checks on seed quality.
Every year, each CSP must apply for an annual CSP permit that allows it to plant a specific released variety in an agreed area that crop season and produce an agreed tonnage of commercial seed that must be tested, labeled and branded to be marketed as commercial seed.
The first three farmers associations were registered as CSPs in July 2013.