By VALENTINE OFORO, DODOMA

THE Tanzania Official Seed Certification Institute (TOSCI) has developed Draft Seed Certification Standards for different tree crops in a move aimed to improve the performance of the agriculture sector in the country.

The tree crops in question involve avocado, coffee, tea, cashew, oil palm, grapes, orange, mangoes, pawpaw, apple and banana.

Giving an exclusive interview to The East Africa Herald, Director General (DG) for TOSCI, Patrick Ngwediagi unveiled that the so-far developed  Draft Seed Certification Standards will first be discussed by the seed stakeholders.

“In mid this month, key stakeholders in the county’s seed industry are expecting to convene, the professional gathering which, among others, will also discuss the developed tree crops seed/seedlings certification standards draft,” he informed.

Ngwediagi added that after being confirmed by the stakeholders and agro experts, the standards will be submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture for final blessings and approval.

“This will ensure the farmers involved in the cultivation of the said economic cash tree crops in various regions are supplied with improved seed/seedlings in order to realize improved performance,” he observed.

The seed regulatory organ will work closely with the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) and the Agricultural Seed Agency (ASA) to ensure local farmers are in access to enough and improved plant varieties for all vital food and economic cash crops that grown in Tanzania.

With its headquarters based in Morogoro, TOSCI is now recognized internationally since it has been accredited to International Seed Testing Association (ISTA), admitted to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Seed Schemes on varietal certification, whereby seed produced in Tanzania and certified by TOSCI can now be sold in the country and the excess can be exported to other countries.

TOSCI is responsible for seed field inspection, seed sampling, seed testing, variety evaluation and verification through National Performance Trials (NPT), Distinctness, Uniformity and Stability Tests (DUS) and Control Plot Testing.

Tanzania is also a member of the International Union for Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), since 2015.

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