Unpacking the seed policy process in Ethiopia: Identifying opportunities for collaborative governance in seed sector development.

In developing countries where agriculture is important for economic development and food security, seed becomes an important element of agricultural policies. The Ethiopian seed policy is meant to ensure that farmers get the right seed, at the right place and at the right time, such all to alleviate food insecurity at different levels in the country and contribute to economic development. However, so far the policy, laws and regulations developed to support the seed sector has not been very successful.

Sharing roles and responsibilities across different levels of government, high domination of government in the sector, inconsistencies with other policies, challenge to balance private sector promotion and protecting small holder farmers as well as biodiversity, and how to integrate the informal and formal seed systems are some of the major challenges in the seed sector of Ethiopia. The cumulative effect is the poor performance of seed sector that is not responding adequately to the growing demand of seed in the country. These have provided reasons for the government to review the legislations in place. Recently Ehiopian seed law was revised and the revision of plant variety protection is under way. While making policies is one major step, putting it into practice has been a major challenge in the past with the old Ethiopian seed.

The objective of this research is twofold: to unravel the policy process and to assess the potential of collaborative seed sector governance. Considering policy as a process, this research will investigate the process of seed policy implementation; how different actors have influenced the making of the new laws; and assess the potential of collaborative governance system to manage changes in seed sector. These are meant to create a better seed sector that can contribute to food security in Ethiopia.