Training on COMESA variety release system at the Rainbow towers, Harare Zimbabwe 6th to 8th June, 2016

The Centre of Phytosanitary Excellence (COPE) in conjunction COMESA ACTESA organized a three day theoretical training workshop for sixty five participants five from each COMESA state on COMESA variety release system. In line with the COMESA objectives, KEPHIS/COPE and COMESA met and discussed the possibility of supporting agricultural trade across borders of the member states. A needs assessment done by ACTESA Burundi, Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe showed the need to do a number of training. The variety release system was done from 6th to 8th June, 2016 in Harare Zimbabwe where Dr. Claid Mujaju was the facilitator and trainer. The official opening was done by Mrs. D. Hikwa the Principal Director in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanization and Irrigation Development, Zimbabwe; he welcomed the trainees and assured them that the training will enable them to acquire more knowledge on the COMESA variety release system. The trainees were taken through COMESA Registration of Varieties, Variety Test: DUS Evaluations, Variety Test: VCU Evaluations (NPT), On-line application demonstration and an Excursion to Seed-Co: Field Visit. Also during the training different countries were able to present what they do in their own countries so as to release a variety. In conclusion, the training was a success with all the scheduled topics being covered as programmed. 56 participants were present with 45 being male and 11 being female.