The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries held a consultation workshop at the MAF Conference Room, Comoro, to present the latest draft of the National Seed Policy to all stakeholders, last Thursday.
The national consultation was the culmination of a process that began last December to gather feedback from all districts on the current draft of the NSP to guide the final version of the policy.
Over 70 participants attended the event, including representatives from Seeds of Life, the presidential office, local and international NGOs, religious groups and the MAF District Directors.
The National Seed Policy will include the introduction of national seed registration to regulate which seeds can and cannot be sold and distributed in the country.
Once a policy is in place a National Seed Law, regulations and implementing guidelines to establish a national seed system can be developed, ensuring Timor-Leste’s farmers have quality seed of good food crop varieties on hand at planting time.
This system will also ensure farmers aren’t taken advantage of or sold poor seed under false pretences.
“We had a farmer who experienced such a situation”, said SoL’s Community Seed Advisor, Buddhi Kunwar. “They were sold seed and told it was kankung but when it grew it was actually an opium plant.”
With the National Seed Policy in place this farmer would have cause to take the seller to court or seek compensation.
The Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Mariano Assanami Sabino, opened the workshop followed by context setting by the Seeds of Life’s Australian Team Leader, John Dalton.
Presenting at the event were members of the NSP Working Group including the National Director for Research and Special Services, Sr. Adalfredo do Rosario Ferreira, representative from HASATIL, Herminia de Jesus Pinto, the General Director of the Farming Study Group, Remigio Laka Vieira and Seeds of Life advisors Buddhi Kunwar and Asep Septiawan.
The NSP Working Group will officially hand the final draft of the National Seed Policy to the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries early in March.