PRESS RELEASE: AATF strengthens capacity in Phytosanitary Excellence for African seed experts

Seed inspectors going through a seed inspection practical lesson at the KEPHIS Nakuru grounds (Photo Courtesy: AATF)

[Nakuru, Kenya, March 2024]: AATF in collaboration with Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) conducted a five-day capacity training for seed analysts and inspectors from Mali, Chad, Niger, and DRC at the KEPHIS Nairobi and Nakuru facilities.

The training of trainers aims to improve Seed Certification and Seed testing  processes in the countries represented towards improved agricultural productivity and promote agricultural transformation.

The training was organized by AATF and facilitated by KEPHIS through the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) – Transition Support Facility (TSF) funding from the African Development Bank.

The participants at the study tour were exposed to a wide range of topics including Kenya seed policy, current status of seed industry in Kenya; seed industry regulations (variety evaluation and release, plant breeders right, and seed regulations); status of  Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) & East African Community (EAC) seed regulations; seed inspection procedures; seed processing; sampling and labelling; seed testing and seed testing procedures; quality assurance in certification; post-certification seed handling to maintain quality, quality assurance activities for seed distributors, and counterfeit seed challenges.

Additionally, they were exposed to practical experiences of field seed inspection, laboratory analysis including purity and germination analysis as well as inspections at seed processing facilities.

The training allows the seed experts to gain exposure in advanced seed testing and inspection techniques from the Center of Phytosanitary Excellence and the State-of-the-Art International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) accredited lab at KEPHIS.

While opening the training session on behalf of the AATF Executive Director, Dr. Francis Nang’ayo, the Senior Manager, Regulatory Affairs, stated that AATF through the TAAT programme aims at enhancing seed quality control across Africa through facilitating experience sharing and capacity enhancement to seed inspectors across the continent through such training forums.

Participants of the Phytosanitary excellence training during a practical session (Photo Courtesy: AATF)

Speaking on behalf of the KEPHIS MD, Mr. Simon Maina, the Head of Seed Certification and Plant Variety Protection at KEPHIS reiterated the commitment of  KEPHIS and the Center of Phytosanitary Excellence (COPE) to continue collaborating with AATF to achieve the stated goal.

Mr. Kaly Diakite, Head of the Phytosanitary Legislation and Control Division at the National Directorate of Agriculture in Bamako-Mali, one of the trainees said “we are delighted to be part of this training that will benefit the seed sector in our respective countries. We have noted that KEPHIS is very advanced and the techniques we learn here will help us to improve how we do things back home.”

This is the 2nd year of training seed experts through Phytosanitary excellence and best practices in the region, after a similar one that targeted South Sudan, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Somalia, and DRC in July 2023. A total of 28 seed inspectors and seed analysts have benefited from the programme.


About AATF (

AATF is an international not-for-profit organization that is empowering smallholder farmers across Sub-Saharan Africa with a wide choice of agricultural innovations that contribute to food and nutrition security to generate health and wealth for their families and communities. Established in 2003 as an African-led entity, AATF works with public and private partners across the full food value chain to access, develop, deliver and commercialize innovative technologies that bring meaningful change to Africa’s agriculture. AATF is driven by a vision of a prosperous and food secure Africa, one where millions of smallholder farmers can transform African agriculture with the same innovations that are transforming food production around the world. AATF believes the farmers in Africa will become globally competitive through use of the best technology, optimal agricultural practices, strategic product value addition and boosted access to efficient markets within and outside Africa.

For further information, please contact:

Ms. Joanne Muthie. Digital Communications Officer, AATF; ; +254 785 903455