Ministry launches seeds testing laboratory
By Kitab A Unango
The National Ministry of Agriculture has launched a national seeds testing laboratory to ensure seeds imported and locally produced in the country are of good quality and free from diseases.
The machine is the first of its kind in the country denoted by Alliance for a Green Revolution in Agriculture (AGRA) with funding from Kingdom of Netherlands.
Speaking during the launch at the Ministry of Agriculture in Juba yesterday, Onyoti Adigo, Minister of Agriculture said the laboratory will enable the ministry to ensure farmers access quality seeds for agricultural transformation in the country.
“Usually people used to do farming with dead seeds. Now with this laboratory installed in the ministry, which means nobody again is going to bring seeds in the country without testing. And we are going to issue ministerial order so that all the seeds around here are to be tested,” Adigo said.
“Anybody importing seeds should bring for testing so that they are issued certifications to prevent dead seeds from entering the country and to prevent infected seeds from affecting our production,” he added.
Adigo said the country was heading towards total agricultural transformation as the ministry has got both soil testing and seeds machines.
“The World Food Program [WFP] earlier donated machines for testing soil. If we can test our soil and seeds that means we are going to transform agriculture in this country,” he stated.
Justin Miteng, AGRA Country Manager said his organization has trained more than 60 experts including field inspectors and laboratory technicians to ensure quality seeds in the country.
“This occasion is very important one because for us it sets yet another milestone in the projects that we are implementing in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture,” Miteng said.
“What we are doing is to build the seeds system in the country and for us to do that we have trained breeders with some of them working in the ministry while others are working in private sectors to produce new breeds of crops,” he added.
Miteng said his organization’s aim was to ensure the country has quality seeds to improve crop production and food security.
“For us, we make sure there are quality seeds in the country we need to ensure quality assurance in the way of seeds through inspection and laboratory test,” he pointed out.