Seed and Seed Varieties Bill referred to the National Council for review
Albertina Nakale WINDHOEK - The National Council once it resumes today (Monday) is set to review the widely-debated Seed and Seed Varieties Bill among other several items for consideration before they are passed after being referred to it by the National Assembly. The National Council has been in recess for 10 weeks. Juliet Mupurua, acting secretary to the National Council, said the bills to be reviewed include the Seed and Seed Varieties, Pharmacy Amendment, Medical and Dental Amendment, Allied Health Professions Amendment, Social Work and Psychology Amendment and the Nursing Amendment bills. The Seed and Seed Varieties Bill seeks to regulate the production, registration and certification of seeds in the country. Once the Seed and Seed Varieties Bill is enacted into law any person who contravenes or fails to comply with the registration requirements as a seed producer, processor, and the furnishing of periodic returns to the registrar, is liable to a fine of N$10,000. Those in breach of this law could be jailed for up to 12 months or be jailed and fined at the same time. Currently, there is no requirement for registration before one can be a dealer in seeds in Namibia. Due to this, Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry Alpheus !Naruseb said there is considerable risk that low-quality seeds may be sold to unsuspecting farmers, resulting in a market failure to the detriment of genuine dealers and production in general. Once the Seed and Seed Varieties Bill has been passed into law, it will stipulate that all seed producers and seed processing units be registered in order to ensure seed quality and provide consumer protection with regard to seed purity, genetic integrity and freedom from diseases, producers and processors. No seed of any kind or variety not gazzetted may for the purpose of cultivation, sowing or planting by any person be sold unless the seed is of a variety specified in the register. “Once this Bill is enacted no person may sell, keep for sale, offer to sell, barter, import or export or otherwise supply any seed by himself or herself or by any other person on his or her behalf unless he or she is registered as a seed dealer,” the minister stated. He explained that no person may import into Namibia any seed unless it is of a variety of which the denomination is entered in the register; or it complies with the prescribed requirements. No person may export from Namibia any seed unless he or she is in possession of the certificate from the registrar authorising such export. These provisions will complement other laws on bio-safety and phytosanitary regulations in order to ensure consumer protection and safeguard sustainability of the national production base through appropriate consideration for bio-technology and plant health risks. The Bill will provide for the appointment of the Registrar of Seed and Seed Varieties, registration of producers, processors and dealers of seed and for control over imports and exports of seed. Further, he explained the Bill further provides for the establishment of the Namibian Seed Council and the Seed Varieties Committee and their powers and functions. The Bill also seeks to provide that the Registrar of Seed and Seed Varieties will be responsible for registration of seed and seed varieties, and keeping and maintaining the register.
New Era Reporter
2018-08-06 09:32:30 8 months ago