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    New Seed Association for Central Asia
30/07/08

Improved seeds suited to local conditions will soon be available to millions of farmers in Central Asia and the Caucasus through a newly-established Regional Seed Association based in Ankara.

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The new Association, grouping private and public-sector producers, covers the 10-nation Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) region of Central Asia, a market of 350 million people. Realizing the area’s great potential for agricultural development – only half of cultivable land is at present farmed –could help take the pressure off soaring food prices.

Seed Associations, grouping both the public and private seed sectors, now cover all the world’s major regions and collaborates with the International Seed Federation, which represents the global seed industry. Their purpose is to help make seeds and plant genetic resources suited to local needs available to the greatest possible number of farmers.

They promote technology transfer from more- to less-developed regions and provide a forum for regular consultations on seeds and plant genetic resources while also contributing to fair and equitable regulation of seed trade.

Establishment of the ECO Seed Association earlier this month was facilitated by FAO and ICARDA – the International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas. Promoting collaboration between the public and private seed sectors improves seed availability, and ultimately food security.

The ECO member countries are Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Islamic Republic of Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

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