United States Donates Cold Storage Facility to Boost Agriculture Development and Trade

LUSAKA – On behalf of the U.S. government, Sheryl Stumbras, Director for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), officially handed over today a rebuilt cold-storage facility to Minister of Agriculture Michael Katambo at the Zambia Seed Control and Certification Institute (SCCI) in Chilanga. Through the USAID/Feed the Future Southern Africa Seed Trade Project, the U.S. government provided funding to the National Seed Authority of Zambia, the SCCI, to fund the rebuilding of the cold-storage seed store facility, which a fire destroyed in 2015. The grant has also helped SCCI expand its reference sample cold storage facility for seed.

“The United States is committed to economic development and food security in the SADC region, and Zambia’s leadership in seed export and trade is important for continued growth in the agriculture sector,” said USAID Director Stumbras. “Ensuring critical infrastructure such as this cold-storage facility are in place and maintained lays a strong foundation for the whole system to work smoothly.”

The state-of-the-art cold storage facility is a critical piece of infrastructure in the seed certification process, meeting internationally agreed-upon standards, such as the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) and the Southern African Development Community Harmonized Seed Regulatory Systems (SADC HSRS) guidelines.

In April 2019, an ISTA audit of Zambia’s SCCI Seed Testing Laboratory affirmed the laboratory’s competence to test and issue ISTA International Seed Lot Certificates. These certificates allow for international seed trade not only in the SADC region, but also in the COMESA region and beyond. The rebuilding of the cold-storage seed store was critical to SCCI passing the audit.

“This facility is very important to us as a country, as it forms part of the requirements for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) seed certification quality assurance system, and it also provides a basis for auditing by ISTA,” said Minister Katambo. “The Zambian government is very committed to ensuring that Zambia maintains its seed export status in the SADC region. For this to be sustained, this cold storage facility we are receiving today is critical.”

Zambia has become a major seed exporter in the SADC region and the SCCI is the country’s primary resource for seed supply. In addition to supporting Zambia, the USAID Seed Trade Project works closely with the SCCI to provide capacity building to other National Seed Authorities across the African continent.

The U.S. government will continue to partner with the Zambian government and the SADC Secretariat toward the full implementation and domestication of the SADC Harmonized Seed Regulatory Systems among member states.

About Feed the Future Southern Africa Seed Trade Project
The Feed the Future Southern Africa Seed Trade Project (Seed Trade Project) is a five-year project designed to increase the availability of high-quality seed of improved varieties to farmers in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, and contribute to increased agricultural productivity and improved food and nutrition security. The Seed Trade Project provides targeted technical assistance to facilitate implementation of the SADC Harmonized Seed Regulatory System (HSRS), which aims to boost seed trade across the region, integrating smaller and more isolated national seed markets into one larger SADC market. The Seed Trade Project is part of a regional policy effort to improve agricultural productivity, food security and nutrition in the SADC region.