USAID Yidgiri Facilitates Seed Law Reforms to Improve the Regulatory Environment for Agricultural Inputs in Burkina Faso

Variety of legumes and seeds at market.

With better quality seeds, farmers can start the planting season off right, increasing productivity and stimulating quality yields. In Burkina Faso, the law protecting quality seeds was passed in 2006, putting it out-of-date with seed regulations passed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in 2009 and creating an outdated seed enabling environment that needed reform to best support farmers.

To help farmers get access to quality seeds, the five-year USAID Yidgiri activity, implemented by Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA), collaborated with the country’s Ministry of Agriculture and national, regional and international seed stakeholders, like private sector actors and non-governmental organizations, to facilitate reform of the Burkinabe law number 010–2006/AN. With updated seed regulations, farmers can reap the benefits of a stronger seed regulatory enabling environment and the productivity and revenue that improved seeds support.

The reform process began in April 2021 when USAID Yidgiri and the Ministry of Agriculture assembled a multidisciplinary team of experts from the Ministry of Economics and Finance, Ministry of Justice, the Joseph Ky-Zerbo University and representatives from the private sector to provide their perspectives and expertise on essential seed sub-sector reforms.

Seed policy reform validation workshop in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

When developing reform proposals, the team drew on knowledge of seed sub-sector needs and challenges obtained from a study and policy plan developed under USAID Yidgiri’s predecessor, USAID Resilience and Economic Growth in the Sahel — Accelerated Growth (REGIS-AG) also implemented by CNFA.

Through a collaborative process, the experts developed several proposed changes to the law, including measures to harmonize the law with ECOWAS regulations, create a seed fund to support research institutes studying seed quality and productivity and establish royalties and penalties to incentivize all actors to respect seed quality standards. Their proposed changes also gave special attention to the private sector, recommending it produce basic seeds with oversight from the government of Burkina Faso to improve the regulatory climate for essential farming inputs.

Seed policy reform validation workshop in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

The next step in this process brought a larger group of stakeholders together to validate the team’s proposed seed law reforms. In late June, USAID Yidgiri and the Ministry of Agriculture hosted a national validation workshop in Ouagadougou to present and agree upon the seed law reforms with national, regional and international seed stakeholders, developing a coalition to support these changes as they advanced toward the policymaking process.

The workshop included over 50 participants, including the Director of USAID’s Mission in Burkina Faso and representatives from the Food and Agriculture Organization, ECOWAS, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Agriculture, USAID Resilience in the Sahel Enhanced (RISE) II partners and the private sector to build support and momentum for the seed law changes. USAID’s country representative, Karen d’Aboville was also among the attendees. During the workshop, she underscored the agency’s commitment to the Burkinabe government and its efforts to ensure food security through efforts like these proposed seed law reforms.

Seed policy reform validation workshop in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

The workshop attendees endorsed the expert team’s proposals, including eight articles harmonized with regional policies, eight edited articles and five additional articles, bringing the recommended reforms closer to law.

“These reforms will strengthen institutional capacity to respect seed quality among seed value chain actors and create a stronger enabling environment for agricultural inputs, enabling farmers to efficiently produce more to meet the growing demand for food,” said USAID Yidgiri Chief of Party Djimasbe Ngaradoum.

In partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, USAID Yidgiri will work to pass these reforms into law through the country’s National Assembly, familiarizing actors, including policymakers, throughout seed sub-sectors with the proposed seed law changes.

After the proposals pass, USAID Yidgiri and the Ministry of Agriculture will collaborate further to support the updated law’s implementation and strengthen the enabling environment to help producers access higher quality seed. With better seeds and agricultural extension advisory services, farmers across Burkina Faso will be able to boost their productivity to meet nutritional, food security and economic needs, improving the livelihoods of farmers and communities across the country.

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