Comesa has developed seed labels and certificates that seed companies will use for large consignments crossing borders.
This is expected to grow regional trade volumes through improved seed varieties.
The Comesa Seed Labels and Certificates will be used by member States to identity seeds in the market that meet the Comesa Seed Trade Harmonisation Regulations of 2014.
Speaking at the Comesa Alliance of Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa (ACTESA) and the African Seed Trade Association (AFSTA) meeting in Nairobi on Thursday last week, Mr John Mukuka, the Seed Expert at ACTESA, said: 'The certificates will be given to a seed company upon verification that a seed lot is of a released variety on the regional catalogue.'
He said procurement of the labels and certificates will be done in July before being ready for use in August 2017.
'Seed exporting companies will be issued with a Comesa Regional Seed Certificate to confirm they are qualified,' Mr Mukuka said.
This development is line with the Comesa Seed Harmonisation and Implementation Plan that provides a framework for the 19 Comesa member states to trade, facilitate seed industry and support to local seed companies.
Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi participated in the meeting alongside 20 seed companies in the eastern and southern Africa region.
The Comesa seed labels are based on the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and will apply to four seed classes: Pre-basic Seed, Basic Seed, and Certified Seed (first generation) and Certified Seed (second generation).
The labels and certificates are designed to certify the seeds as having been produced in accordance with all the requirements the Comesa Seed Certification System as provided by the Comesa Seed Trade Harmonisation Regulations.
Further, they will verify that seed multiplication was registered, inspected and met Comesa field standards and that the seed lot meets the minimum laboratory seed analysis standards of the Comesa Seed Trade Harmonisation regulations.
The labels will be tagged on bags of seeds that will be traded across the countries that have aligned their national seed laws with Comesa harmonised laws.
Currently, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Zimbabwe have completed aligning their national seed laws while Malawi and Zambia are in final stages of the process.