The Access to Seeds Index was invited to make a presentation of its the results and impact to the interdepartmental meeting on global food security of the ministries of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Quality and Foreign Affairs on Thursday 4 July 2019.
Back in 2012 the initiative to develop the Access to Seeds Index was taken by the Dutch ministry of Agriculture, executive director Ido Verhagen reminded the audience. According to him it was a good example of the kind of foresight that qualifies quality policy making: ‘long before anyone discussed the SDGs, climate change or food system transformation, the initiators realised the relevance of making modern plant breeding accessible for farmers in Africa and Asia.’
The presentation highlighted the 2018 FAO report ‘The State of Food and Agriculture’ that warned that the fight against malnutrition in these regions has come to standstill due to climate change. One of the main strategies to help farmers to tackle this put forward by this report, was improving access to new crop varieties. ‘Just a week later, we started publishing the 2019 Access to Seeds Index, providing more insight in bottle necks in Africa and Asia as well as providing an overview of the private sector landscape ready to start partnering with the public sector to take on this challenge,’ Verhagen added.
Since the publication the Access to Seeds Index has been overwhelmed with positive responses, ranging from over 450 media outlets that have covered the Index as well as speaking invitations from the governments of Thailand, India and Nigeria as well as FAO. Last June, the findings were discussed with the seed industry at the World Seed Congress after which the International Seed Federation (ISF) started a campaign to underline the relevance of the SDGs for the seed industry – and the seed industry for achieving the SDGs – as well on why the industry should focus stronger on Africa.