Technology Multiplication and Seed Research

 

An overview 

The Technology Multiplication and Seed Research Directorate (TMSRD) is one of the key Directorate in Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) that engaged in multiplication of Early Generation Technologies (EGT)- (breeder, pre-basic, basic seeds, livestock and fishery, bio-fertilizer, tissue culture planting materials and farm mechanization prototypes) and carry out seed research activities that helps to improve the production and productivity; consequently, to sustain the overall development of the technological innovation systems in the country. 

Combined with other agricultural inputs, high-yielding varieties have been demonstrated to significantly increase crop production. Based on this, one of the key areas to strengthen agricultural production in Ethiopia, thereby, enhancing food security has been increasing small holder farmers’ access to high-quality EGT. 

Therefore, in order to catalyze agricultural transformation, EGT should be available to farmers in a sustainable manner. Through concerted efforts made by the National Agricultural Research System (NARS), a number of agricultural technologies have been adapted, generated and disseminated and these technologies have contributed to sustained increase in production and productivity. However, the level of agricultural productivity in the country is still far below what can potentially be achieved. 

Addressing these gaps is critical in realizing the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) of doubling agricultural production and productivity between 2008 and 2012 EC. Commensurate with the overall GTP goals and in order to meet the specific targets set for the agricultural growth during this period; TMSRD has revised its multiplication and seed research approach and re-defined its goals. Despite the apparent limitations in its physical and human resource capacity, quite encouraging results have been achieved in EGT multiplication. In addition, EIAR remained a key institution that has started research on seed technology. Although highly specialized and a crucial element of agricultural production, seed science and technology is a broad subject which requires understanding of many disciplines, and it is seldom adequately covered in plant breeding and agronomy research themes. 

In general, the progresses attained so far were encouraging. The directorate shall keep on striving to improve its human resource capacity as a whole and upgrade the facilities of existing centers in EGT multiplication and seed research.

Given all such supports and commitment it is certain that TMSRD will be among the key players contributing towards meeting the GTP goals of doubling agricultural production and transforming the livelihood of poor farmers in the country.

Activities

 Major activities  

  • Multiplication of early generation improved technologies and carries out research on seed and seed related activities. 

 Specific activities 

  • Multiplication of improved crop varieties (Cereals, pulses, oil and fiber crops, horticultural crops, Stimulant crops, Essential oils, medicinal and bio- energy crops). 

  • Multiplication of improved livestock breeds (improved poultry breeds, dairy breeds, fishery breeds and forage crop varieties)

  • Multiplication of improved natural resource research outputs (bio-fertilizers)

  • Prototype multiplication of locally developed farm implements

  • Human power and capacity building

  • Seed research and quality control 

Future directions  

In the past, despite the availability of technologies, their impact on the livelihood of the poor farmers/pastoralists in the country was quite low. One of the most important gaps frequently mentioned is that lack of adequate amount of EGS in required quantity and quality. As a result, a substantial number of farming community didn’t get seeds of improved varieties. Besides, the research system as a whole was considered to be less responsive to the existing sense of urgency due to the long time span normally required for technology generation and multiplication.

Addressing these gaps is critical in realizing the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) of doubling agricultural production and productivity between 2008 and 2012 EC. Therefore, TMSRD has revised its multiplication and seed research approach and re-defined its goals. 

Therefore, technology multiplication and seed research in the future need to be implemented to fill the gap in availability and access to reasonable quantity of early generation seeds and questionable quality seed in produced seeds. In order to increase the productivity of crops, the research centers should have to be mechanized and capacitated in terms of human power and facilities. Moreover, the seed technology and quality research future directions are identified as follows. The issues are categorized in relation to seed production and seed developmental physiology, seed economics, seed processing, knowledge and information, seed storage, seed invigoration, genetic quality of seed, strengthening seed system and capacity building. 

The major research areas to be tackled in the near future are:

  • Though we are talking about enhanced food productivity, the issue of enhancing the seed yield is an issue to be tackled. 

  • The vigor and viability of the seeds in relation to seed development and maturation is of prime importance. 

  • Precision seed technology and innovative techniques, technologies and packaging to enhance shelf life of seed needs to be studied. 

  • The effect of climate change on seed production needs to be taken up. 

  • The off-season areas for seed production, mulching technology, mechanism of seed production to cut the cost of seed production needs special emphasis. 

  • Strengthening of quality seed Lab needs to be established to address all issues on seed quality. 

  • Steps to improve the quality of farmer’s saved seeds with QDS need to be addressed urgently. 

  • Preparation of seed production and variety maintenance guidelines/ manual for different crops, laboratory manuals and protocols, seed inspection procedures/manuals for quality control

  • Strengthening community seed system needs special emphasis

  • The issue of public-private partnership (PPP) needs to be on the common platform with joint working groups involving various stake holders. 

  • The re-validation of new Ethiopian minimum seed and field standards should be worked at the earliest to have our own seed certification standards. 

  • The work on seed physiology, seed priming and second generation seed treatment technologies relevant to the seed industry needs to be worked out.