Seed World

It’s a Collective Responsibility to Solve Food Insecurity. Join the Conversation at the World Seed Congress.

Each year, the International Seed Federation’s World Seed Congress travels across the globe to different host countries, each focused on different portions of the seed sector. Though Cape Town’s and South Africa’s first time in the spotlight suddenly changed due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, 2023 is their time to shine.

Why should seed businesses get excited to head to South Africa this June? Well, for Lukeshni Chetty, it’s easy: there’s so much South Africa’s seed sector can offer to international businesses.

Though you might not think Cape Town has the best amenities, Chetty says it’s the best of both worlds.

“It’s a first-world city,” Chetty, general manager for SANSOR, South Africa’s seed association, says. “Even though many people might think, oh it’s in Africa, you will get world-class amenities, the oceans, the mountains, great food, and most of all, great seed businesses.”

South Africa’s seed businesses and SANSOR’s members have been waiting for the opportunity to host the World Seed Congress since 2020, and Chetty says that’s made them eager to connect, network and find new business opportunities.

“We’ve promoted the Congress since 2019 — it’s a long time coming. We simply don’t have the adjectives to describe how we feel, but you’re going to see a great turnout from my members,” she says. “We’re excited to do business. It’s an opportunity for the world — this is the gateway to Africa, and the rest of Africa is going to be here as well. This continent is critical to seed and food security.”

With the Congress focusing on how to provide seed to all corners of the world, finding business partners in Africa helps open doors to better access of quality seed to all growers.

“It’s a collective responsibility to deal with our issues of food security and our issues of climate change, as well as access to seed, new genetics and new technology,” Chetty says. “If we’re going to overcome these massive challenges that the world is facing, every single company that is out there needs to join us. Everybody is needed.”

What should you expect when you come to Cape Town this year? For one, make sure you don’t lower your expectations.

According to Chetty, seed businesses and ISF members will still be attending a world class seed congress, but the real benefit will be the critical conversations on the ground.

“You will have good business, good conversation and new opportunities,” she says.

Some of the topics that Chetty sees coming into discussion in the future for South Africa include: getting access to quality seed and access to top-notch genetics and how to make African farmers equivalent to farmers in America, Europe and South America.

But, all in all, Chetty is excited for the opportunity to engage.

“I know it’s a long way to travel, but it’s certainly a worthwhile trip,” Chetty says. “You won’t regret it. Come to South Africa and register for the Congress — we’re waiting for you.”

Make sure to register for the ISF World Seed Congress, taking place June 5-7 in Cape Town, South Africa, and watch Lukeshni Chetty’s full interview below.