BENIN – The Beninese government has decided to set up “Benin Company for the Development of Plant Seeds and Plants”, an entity that, once established, will be mandated to “effectively” manage the national system for the production, aggregation, importation, and distribution of seeds and plants.
The Council approved the decision of Ministers on January 24.
Specifically, the company will be responsible for promoting the development of seed and plant varieties and conserving strains of varieties adapted to user requirements and climate change.
The council established that the national seed system is dominated by the informal sector and inefficient supply methods, with growers taking seeds and seedlings directly from existing stocks in the fields for the following season.
According to official data, around 80% of seeds used by farmers come from an informal marketing channel and are not certified, which has a negative impact on yield levels.
The council, therefore, deemed it important to set up a formal seed system to guarantee the quality of seeds and seedlings, with clear traceability from selection through multiplication to marketing.
To achieve this, the government has opted to create a structure capable of effectively managing the national system for producing, aggregating, importing and distributing seeds and seedlings.
It will also be mandated to support capacity-building for all categories of players involved in variety development of seed and seedling management, create seed and seedling collection and distribution networks, taking into account feedback from the various stakeholders and users to improve seed and plant quality.
The new public entity will also install modern seed and plant processing, packaging, and storage/preservation centers, upgrade infrastructures for quality control, strengthen capacities for control and certification of plant seeds and seedlings.
The setting up of this company is part of a desire to sustainably boost the performance of Benin’s agriculture.
According to the council’s statement, the entity will be dedicated to organizing the seed industry around food, horticultural, forage, fruit, and forestry species, in order to meet the need for quality seeds and seedlings and to improve the rate of use of certified seeds and seedlings.
However, the council exempted the genetically modified organisms (GMOs).