Certification of agroforestry tree germplasm in Southern Africa: opportunities and challenges

The lack of high quality agroforestry tree germplasm has long been recognized as one of the major challenges to widespread adoption of agroforestry in Southern Africa. Productivity levels realized in operational scale plantings are far less than those demonstrated in research and this has been partly blamed on the use of germplasm of unknown quality and low productivity potential. The lack of high quality germplasm is attributable to the absence of regulations to govern its production in the countries promoting agroforestry. Most of the agroforestry tree germplasm is sold or distributed without regard to its genetic, physiological and physical quality. Given these challenges, in this paper, we reviewed crop seed certification in general and tree germplasm certification in the USA, Europe, India, Southern Africa and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) with a view to find potential similarities with agroforestry tree germplasm. Only three countries in sub-Saharan Africa (Burkina Faso, Madagascar and Rwanda) were found to have tree germplasm certification: the OECD Forest Seed and Plant certification scheme. From the review, it is possible to establish agroforestry tree germplasm quality control systems, more so in countries that already have tree seed centres and tree seed regulations. A simple agroforestry tree germplasm certification scheme, based on the FAOs Quality Declared Seed (QDS) with truth-in-labelling is recommended. Three germplasm categories (audit, select and genetically improved) are recommended as a start. Furthermore, countries will need to develop new or amend existing agricultural seed policies and regulations to include agroforestry tree germplasm certification under QDS. Finally, germplasm quality standards for the selected agroforestry trees species in the respective countries will need to be developed.
Authors: Nyoka, B.I.; Ajayi, O.C.; Akinnifesi, F.K.; Chanyenga, T.; Mng'omba, S.A.; Sileshi, G.; Jamnadass, R.; Madhibha, T.
Subjects: germplasm, certification, calliandra calothyrsus, productivity, gliricidia sepium
Publication type: Article
Source: Agroforestry Systems 83: 75-87
Year: 2011
ISSN: 0167-4366

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