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Seed and other planting materials are the farmerís most precious resources. This is especially true for smallholder farmers in West Africa, where 60-70% of the population depend on agriculture. Agriculture in the sub-region is characterized by much risk and uncertainty, especially in the face of climate change and variability. The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) seeks to achieve 6% agricultural productivity growth. CORAF/WECARD leads the implementation of Pillar IV of this program, which addresses agricultural research and dissemination and adoption of technologies in West Africa. It is also involved in the implementation of the USAID-FtF initiative in West Africa, which focuses on responding to the objectives of the Agricultural Policy of West Africa, which is in turn aligned to the CAADP. Agriculture in West Africa is faced with a number of challenges related to technological, institutional and policy environment issues. The seed industry in particular, faces very important challenges including limited access to quality seeds; limited technical and financial capital, weak and poorly developed local seed enterprises; lack of seed demand forecasting to engage the private sector, and lack of mechanisms to enforce seed laws and regulations in order to facilitate seed trade. USAID/WA, in partnership with key stakeholders, has been involved in the investment in the seed sector to tackle challenges facing the seed industry; the most recent being the West Africa Seed Alliance Seeds project (WASA-SP). Important lessons learned from this project and other initiatives, are the basis on which the proposed WASP intends to build on.

The Goal of WASP is to expand both the production and supply of quality improved certified seed, both OPVs and hybrids, from the current 12 to 25% over the five years of the program. The General objective is to contribute to the sustainable improvement of agricultural productivity. The program seeks to achieve its objectives by building an Alliance for Seed Industry in West Africa (ASIWA) involving all partners working in the seed sector, which will ensure the sustainable production and use of quality seeds of the major staple crops in West Africa. The program will allow the ECOWAS and CILSS countries to share experiences across the sub-region and with other regions of the world while minimizing duplication of effort between programs and building synergies.