48 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM Regional blocs have also been assisted with the harmoniza- tion of national seed regulatory frameworks in order to facilitate the delivery of quality seeds within and between countries. With FAO’s support, African regional blocs – the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Economic and Monetary Union of West Africa (UEMOA) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and that of Central Asia – the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), have harmonized national seed regulatory frameworks. These regionally harmo- nized seed regulations are enhancing the ease for, and volume of, cross-border movement of seeds thereby providing a broader market for seed enterprises and more choices for farmers. FAO also assists its member countries to produce quality seeds by strengthening the capacities of national seed laborato- ries, training seed analysts and inspectors, organizing the vari- ety release systems, and preparing national or regional variety catalogues. FAO supports community-based seed production and distri- bution channels to ensure that small-scale farmers have access to quality seeds of the most suitable varieties in their commu- nities, and to supplement what the formal seed sector can offer. Most of the seeds accessed through the informal system fall within crop groups that are not of commercial interest to the private sector, the bulk of which constitutes important food security crops, such as cassava, cowpeas, open pollinated maize, sweet potato and yams. The protocols for Quality Declared Seeds and Quality Declared Planting Materials, developed under FAO’s auspices, ensure that costs associated with standard certifica- tion processes do not prevent the availability or affordability of quality seeds, especially for crops without significant private sector involvement in the value chain. Natural disasters and civil strife disrupt crop production. FAO contributes to the restart of farming by affected and dis- placed households through the rehabilitation of national seed systems. The typical assistances, to an average of 20 countries annually, include the supply of quality seeds of appropriate vari- eties, the development and implementation of policies and the strengthening of relevant institutional and human capacities which can support farmers’ continued access to the seeds and planting materials they need (seed security). This kind of assis- tance reduces or eliminates dependence on food aids. In addition to FAO’s own field level activities, the organization has developed a number of tools to aid other partners apply best practices in providing seeds to farmers as part of emergency relief interven- tions and in carrying out seed security assessments. LOOKING TO THE FUTURE FAO is committed to winning the war against hunger and mal- nutrition without further damage to the environment. In fact, the organization’s common vision on sustainability envisages the concomitant attainments of both food security and nutrition and a safeguarded environment. It is for this reason that the organization’s work on sustainable intensification of crop pro- duction systems relies heavily on the unlocking of the potentials of PGRFA as complement to harnessed ecosystem services and the optimal use of external inputs. In this regard, FAO demon- strates that it is possible to feed an ever-increasing population, even in spite of climate change and other drivers, while also conserving agrobiodiversity. This requires the bridging of the agriculture – environment divide, an endeavor that requires both functional tools and political commitments. Quality seeds and planting materials of well-adapted crop varieties are critically important tools for re-engineering our crop production system towards enhanced productivities, i.e. to produce more with less. The organization also leverages its normative processes especially the Commission and the Treaty to foster agreements between governments and secure commitments relevant to the conservation and sustainable use of PGRFA. Let us do the heavy-lifting! Agronomix Software Inc. Winnipeg Manitoba Canada Phone: 1-204-487-4245 Email: info@agronomix.com www.agronomix.com AGROBASE Cloud™ powered by Software for plant breeding and variety testing, used worldwide Visit us at booth #15 at the ESA in Riga, Latvia - October 8-10, 2017 Agronomix 12pg 2017 Cloud Euro Seed Ad - ESA.indd 1 11/09/2017 22:54:56