The harvest is in the seed

Amidst the COVID-19 crisis, we at AfricaSeeds are conscious that seed delivery is crucial to ensure that farmers can plant their preferred varieties on time for the next season. During these unprecedented times, seed sector actors need to find new ways to carry out this essential service.

Some of us may have to work remotely, and need improved access to knowledge and information online, rather than face-to-face. Some other may need to acquire new skills. To respond to these needs, we are making information and knowledge about the seed system more readily available for all actors of the seed sector.

There are numerous quality information materials about seed sector sustainable development available out there. This wealth of knowledge addresses the entire array of the seed value chain. It can be used to strengthen the capacity along all steps of the seed value chain, for a more coordinated and effective seed sector development.

Every week, we highlight a specific initiative that is working towards strengthening knowledge about the seed sector in Africa via the publication of training material, guidelines, policy briefs, frameworks, datasets, videos, etc. The improved visibility of these initiatives will contribute to increase seed security, thus boosting the foundation of food security and livelihoods of Africa.

Support capacity development in the seed sector by sharing these resources!

©Agrilinks
29 Jun, 2021 No Comments

Week 35 – Webinar: The Informal Seed Sector: A Behind the Seeds Look

Author: Agrilinks, 2015
Topics: Informal seed sector, access to seeds, quality seeds

Many smallholder farmers rely on local seed varieties to produce staple food crops. Distributed through informal systems, farmers select varieties based on a number of factors including environmental considerations, socioeconomic factors, access and taste preferences. These systems may contribute to the food security of a region, but farmers may also encounter barriers to accessing good quality seed including quality controls and storage issues.

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©Elsevier
15 Jun, 2021 No Comments

Week 33 – Research paper: Rapid breeding and varietal replacement are critical to adaptation of cropping systems in the developing world to climate change

Author: Gary N.Atlin, Jill E.Cairns, Biswanath Das, 2017
Topics: Marketing, breeding, research

Plant breeding is a key mechanism for adaptation of cropping systems to climate change. Much discussion of breeding for climate change focuses on genes with large effects on heat and drought tolerance, but phenology and stress tolerance are highly polygenic.

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©AGRA, Syngenta, CGIAR
08 Jun, 2021 No Comments

Week 32 – Policy Paper: Accelerating the delivery of quality seed from breeding investments made by the Crops to End Hunger Initiative through economically sustainable seed systems

Author: AGRA, Syngenta and CGIAR, 2021
Topics: Marketing, breeding, commercial seed varieties

Commercial seed delivery for smallholder farmers in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa has been limited to few crops and varietal turnover has been slow. Publicly funded breeding needs to engage with seed systems in order to deliver greater genetic gain in farmers’ fields via varietal replacement.

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©MDPI
04 Jun, 2021 No Comments

Week 31 – Informal Seed Traders: The Backbone of Seed Business and African Smallholder Seed Supply

Author: Louise Sperling, Patrick Gallagher, Shawn McGuire, Julie March and Noel Templer, 2020
Topics: informal seed system, traders, smallholder farmers

To work well and be sustainable, seed systems have to offer a range of crops and varieties of good quality seed and these products have to reach farmers, no matter how remote or poor they may be. Formal seed sector interventions alone are not delivering the crop portfolio or achieving the social and geographic breadth needed, and the paper argues for focus on informal seed channels and particularly on traders who move ‘potential seed’ (informal or local seed) even to high stress areas.

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©SNP
20 May, 2021 No Comments

Week 30 – Meeting Report: Multi-actor consultation workshop on the recognition of traditional / farmers’ seeds and farmers’ rights in seed legislation in Mali

Author: Semences, Normes et Paysans (SNP), 2017
Topics: Dialogue, informal seed system, traditional varieties, farmers’ rights, International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Agriculture and Food (ITPGRFA)

From 11 to 13 September, 2017, a multi-stakeholder consultation was held on traditional and farmer seeds at the Practical Forest Training Center of Tabakoro. Under the chairmanship of the Ministry of Agriculture of Mali, the workshop recorded the participation of representatives of the Ministry of higher education and scientific research (MESRS); the Ministry of environment, sanitation and sustainable development (MEADD), as well as the Ministry livestock and fisheries. In addition to participants from Mali, the sub-region, others came from South Africa and France to share their experiences on the topic discussed.

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©CABI
06 May, 2021 No Comments

Week 28 – Case Study: Improving access to quality seeds in Africa

Author: L. Kimenye; CABI 2014
Subjects: Indigenous Vegetables, Quality Declared Seed, QDS, neglected crops, informal seed system, access to seeds

AIVs (African indigenous vegetables) have traditionally been a significant contributor to food security and nutrition for smallholder farmers in East Africa and are also important in providing incomes, particularly for women. However, farmers’ capacity to meet a growing demand for these vegetables has been limited by lack of good quality seed.

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©CABI
30 Apr, 2021 No Comments

Week 27 – Case Study: Perspectives on sustainability of smallholder seed enterprises: African indigenous vegetables in Tanzania

Author: Monica Kansiime, Mary Bundi, Jacqueline Nicodemus, Justus Ochieng, Damus Marandu, Silvesta S.Njau, Radegunda F. Kessy, Justice Tambo, Frances Williams, Daniel Karanja; CABI 2021
Subjects: Indigenous Vegetables, Quality Declared Seed, QDS, neglected crops, informal seed system

Between 2013 and 2016, CABI’s Good Seed Initiative (GSI) worked with partners in Tanzania to strengthen the seed system for Africa Indigenous Vegetables (AIVs) through promotion of farmer seed enterprises using two models – contract farming (Arusha) and Quality Declared Seed (QDS) (Dodoma).

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©FSC
22 Apr, 2021 No Comments

Week 26 – Guidelines: Emergency Seed Interventions during the COVID-19 pandemic

Author: Food Security Cluster, 2020
Subjects: emergency, seed systems, Covid-19

Emergency seed interventions may already be planned or ongoing in many areas (e.g. to respond to drought, pest infestation, displacement, or other stresses). COVID-19 and its associated restrictions on travel, trade and markets may also constrain farmers’ seed security, as well as the ways in which aid agencies are able to operate.

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