SADC Heads of State and Governments formed the Dar-es-Salaam Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security of 2004, which established measures that would increase the timely provision of quality seed to farmers in order to attain self-sufficiency. The SADC Secretariat
, in collaboration with Member States, then developed the SADC Harmonized Seed Regulatory System (HSRS) as part of the technical response to the Declaration.
The SADC Harmonized Seed Regulatory System was approved by the Ministers responsible for Agriculture and Food Security in 2007, which was followed in 2009 by the approval of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the implementation of the HSRS.
From there, the SADC Seed Centre was established. The design of the new Centre was based on experiences gained and include appropriate representation of those stakeholders who use and fund the Systems.The organization of the SADC Seed Centre emphasizes the important roles of SADC Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Directorate (FANR)
and the National Seed Authorities (NSAs). It functions as key advisor to SADC in all areas of seed policy and seed availability in the region and assists in capacity-building.
The Centre will eventually be able to provide important support to agencies engaged in the analysis of disasters and the delivery of emergency seed and facilitate a better coordination of the supply of basic seed in the region.The SADC Seed Centre is supervised by an independent Regional Seed Committee with representatives from public and private seed sectors across SADC. The Regional Seed Committee employs staff to manage Centre activities along with a SADC Seed Centre Coordinator
As the SADC Seed Centre continues the process of becoming fully operational, it will eventually begin generating revenue and expand services. These services include support to relief seed operations, coordination of basic seed supply, project service fees, fees for training and conferences, advertising, and others. Through financial independence, the Centre expects to only seek donor funding special project activities.
Currently, 11 Member States are signatories to the MoU, with five pending. Further, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe have all produced improved seed under the SADC HSRS, and Zambia and Zimbabwe have successfully exported to neighboring countries using the SADC seed labels and certificates.