36 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM INTERNATIONAL NEWS GLOBAL SEED WATCH ALBERTA WHEAT AND BARLEY COMBINING THEIR RESOURCES IN CANADA, WHILE THE GHANA GOVERNMENT MOVING FORWARD WITH THEIR PLEDGE TO SEED SUPPLIERS. STATUS CANADA The Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) and Alberta Barley announced that they are moving forward with a shared man- agement structure, providing added value and cost savings to the province’s wheat and barley farmers. The move follows a four-month trial period, during which both boards and management assessed the feasibility of the shared structure. During the next phase of this work, management will formalize an operating model that will see the team serve both the Alberta Wheat and Barley boards. “Alberta Barley and Wheat staff have always worked collaboratively,” said Jason Lenz, Alberta Barley Chair. “Now oper- ating as one team, we’re able to further leverage the relationship between the commissions to create better efficiencies that serve both crops.” “Working with Alberta Barley is a natural partnership,” said Kevin Bender, AWC Chair. “With this new structure, we believe we can provide better return on investment to wheat and barley farmers.” STATUS GHANA The Ministry of Agriculture has assured that government will pay seed suppliers who provided seeds for farmers under the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ programme. According to a Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Sagre Bambangi, gov- ernment is committed to redeeming its pledge. Some farmers, who supplied seeds for the planting for food and jobs programme, have complained of the delay in accessing their monies months after supplying the seeds. Dr. Bambangi told Citi Business News, the ministry is fast tracking the payment processes to sustain the policy. “There are a lot of processes that our public financial system takes you through for you to access resources. I think the Ministry of Agriculture is engaged in these processes. Whoever hasn’t been paid will be paid as long as they legiti- mately supplied seeds to the Ministry,” he assured. He stated that though a specific date has not been set yet government is work- ing hard to get the suppliers some relief. “I can’t give a timeline now on when they’ll be paid, but government can assure the suppliers of receiving payment soon because government will be work- ing with them for the 2018 crop season. Government would not want to jeopard- ize the success of the planting for food and jobs program by not paying the seed providers.” STATUS RWANDA Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) has drafted a law governing genetically modified organ- isms (GMOs) in Rwanda which will soon be forwarded to the Rwanda Law Reform Commission for review. The draft bill was prepared along with the National Biosafety Framework, biosafety policy and regulations accord- ing to officials. The objective of the legislation is to ensure adequate level of protection in the field of the safe transfer, handling, and use of GMOs resulting from modern biotechnology that may have an adverse effect on the conservation and sustaina- ble use of biological diversity. The draft law also takes into account risks to human health, to provide a trans- parent and predictable process for review and decision-making on such genetically modified organisms and related activities, and to implement the Cartagena Protocol to which Rwanda is a signatory party. In Africa, Kenya, Egypt, Sudan, South Africa, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, and South Africa have biosafety laws in place, he said. Though the country is already pro- tected through existing policies and laws, there is need for specific laws and regulations to ensure the country’s pre- paredness for proper management of risks that may result from modern bio- technology. It is expected that the pro- posed law will serve to complement other legislations for sustainable protection of biological diversity in a rapidly changing and globalised environment. STATUS TAIWAN The Tainan-based World Vegetable Center (WorldVeg) is sending a gift of samples of 21 vegetable species to the Svalbard International Seed Vault in Norway in celebration of the latter’s 10th birthday. WorldVeg staff packed 1,004 sam- ples, or “accessions,” of the species, including okra, eggplant, soybean, pumpkin, loofah and leaf mustard, in the shipment for Svalbard at the com- pany's headquarters in Shanhua District of Tainan City. “Delivery takes 10 days and we need to make sure the seed boxes will arrive in time for the celebration,” research assistant Sophie Chou said in a state- ment on the center's official website. The Svalbard Seed Vault will cel- ebrate its 10th anniversary on 26 and 27 February. Established to protect the world’s agricultural diversity and heritage, the facility is known as the “Doomsday Vault” because it was built to withstand natural or man-made dis- asters. WordVeg’s genebank team began preparing the samples they are sending to Svalbard in 2016, according to Chou. STATUS UK Scientists in the United Kingdom are leading new cutting-edge research to create crops that are more nutritious, more resistant to disease and better able to withstand severe floods or drought in Africa, in addition to developing medi- cines to protect farmers’ livestock from devastating disease.