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Improved Seeds Soon Ready For Farmers In C. Asia

Improved seeds soon available for millions of farmers in Central Asia, UN says

30 July 2008 - Improved seeds that are better suited to local conditions will soon be available to millions of farmers in Central Asia through a new regional seed association launched in Ankara, Turkey, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced today.

The new association groups public and private seed producers, promotes technology transfer to less-developed nations and provides a forum for regular consultations on seeds and plant genetic resources. The aim is to distribute suitable seeds to the greatest possible number of farmers.

The FAO said that the association will cover the 10-nation Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) region of Central Asia, a market of 350 million people. Only half of cultivable land is farmed in the area and the UN agency said that the new venture will boost agricultural development and could take the pressure off soaring food prices.

Seed associations now cover all the world's major regions and collaborate with the International Seed Federation, which represents the global seed industry.

The FAO helped establish the ECO Seed Association earlier this month along with ICARDA, the International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas.

The ECO member countries are Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

ENDS

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