A workshop on ‘Varietal release and national and regional variety catalogs’ was held, 15–16 December, in Cotonou, to raise awareness of rice breeders involved in the Africa Rice Breeding Task Force on issues relating to variety testing, characterization, releases, cataloguing and maintenance; breeder/foundation seed production; and harmonization of descriptors. Presentations on the current status of variety release and regional and national catalogs were made by AfricaRice, the Institut du Sahel (INSAH)/ Comité permanent Inter-État pour la Lutte contre la Sécheresse dans le Sahel (CILSS), UEMOA and CORAF/WECARD.
The participants noted that a major effort has been made in West Africa regarding the harmonization of regulations relating to variety release and seed certification over the past few years. The document was adopted by ECOWAS in 2008 and by UEMOA in 2009. At the end of the workshop detailed action plans were made for greater harmonization.