(Tetum) Now is the time for all registered Commercial Seed Producers (CSP) across the country to submit their application for a seed production Annual Permit to the Seed Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF).

The Annual Permit is issued under the Guidelines of the National Seed System for Released Varieties (NSSRV) and applies to all officially released varieties (e.g. Sele, Noi Mutin and Nai varieties of maize, Nakroma variety of rice and Utamua variety of peanut). The Annual Permit is only issued to those CSP that are officially registered as CSP by MAF Seed Department.

The Annual Permit includes four important pieces of information:

© Simao Margono/Seeds of Life

CSP who wants to produce commercial seed should be registered in MAF and complete Annual Permit application © Simao Margono/Seeds of Life

  • what type of crop will be grown (e.g. maize, rice or peanut);
  • what variety of crop will be grown (e.g. Sele or Nakroma or Utamua);
  • the location where the seed will be produced; and
  • the area that will be grown for seed production.

Once issued an Annual Permit each CSP is assured it can produce a specific amount of commercial seed of a MAF-released variety of peanut, rice or maize in the 2015-16 cropping season and providing they comply with the other quality control guidelines, they will be able to package and sell their seed under their own and Fini Ba Moris brand.

Simao Margono, MAF-SoL National Quality Control Coordinator, said the applications submitted for Annual Permit to produce seed enables MAF Seed Officers to estimate the total amount of each type of certified seed MAF will be required to supply to CSP and to also undertake the field inspections that are necessary before an Annual Permit can be issued.

Simao Margono  explained to some CSPs in Oecusse on Annual Permit application © Seeds of Life

Simao Margono explained to some CSPs in Oecusse on Annual Permit application © Seeds of Life

“The Annual Permit of crops and varieties enables MAF to provide commercial seed producers with its quality control services” he says. “These services then enable MAF to guarantee the quality of all commercial seed that carries the Fini ba Moris brand of the National Seed System”.

“Data from all annual permits helps MAF to forecast the amount of certified seed that will be required by commercial seed producers, schedule supervisory visits of MAF Seed Officers to CSP seed plots and estimate the amount of commercial seed produced and available to meet next year’s total national seed requirements” he adds.

Currently there are 58 CSP registered by MAF and 7 new CSP have already submitted their applications to produce commercial seed of maize, peanut, and rice to Fini ba Moris high standards (98% physical purity, >80% germination and < 12% moisture).

“The reason why they have to register is because the seed quality will be directly monitored by MAF Seed Officers.”

“The reason why they have to register is because the seed quality will be directly monitored by MAF Seed Officers. After reviewing their applications, the Seed Officers will inspect the CSP’s field to check they meet requirements. Only then is the CSP issued an Annual Permit,” says Simao.

Oecusse field trip-46

Seed Officers from Bobonaro and Oecusse inspected a CSP’s peanut field in Oecusse © Yessy Betty/Seeds of Life

The compulsory requirements for Annual Permit include: the CSP has been registered in MAF and correctly completed the Annual Permit application, the area proposed for seed production is isolated from other varieties (this only applies to maize which is cross pollinated), the seed production plot is in one area (not scatted in different locations) and the CSP has good seed storage and a seed warehouse.

“It is estimated that more than 300 ha will be planted by CSP this coming crop season which should produce more than the 365 tons of commercial maize, rice and peanut which MAF plans to purchase next year” says, Buddhi Kunwar, MAF-SoL Community and Commercial Seed Development Advisor.

“Besides selling to MAF, CSP can also sell their commercial seeds to agriculture shops, local community and institutions such as NGOs or other development agencies. They can also use the any surplus seeds as buffer stocks for replanting in the dry season.”

In the recent 2014-15 crop season, 58 CSPs produced around 363 tons of commercial seed of Utamua peanut, Nakroma rice and Sele, Noi Mutin and Nai varieties of maize.  In order to improve seed production, MAF-SoL plans to establish more CSPs to produce more good quality commercial seed.