The harvest is in the seed

A number of key mechanisms will be adopted in order to provide greater efficiency in the implementation process and to achieve significant and relevant impacts.


Seed value chain approach

The strategy of AfricaSeeds is based on the recognition of the specificity and complexity of the African seed sector and therefore the need for addressing, in an integrated manner, the entire seed value chain. In that vein, AfricaSeeds will seek to identify key bottlenecks inherent in all the stages of the seed value chain and acting with relevant partners, assist in addressing all inequities which hinder the seed sector. The value chain approach offers significant opportunities for ensuring the sustainability of seed sector development interventions on the continent. AfricaSeeds will engage actors based on comparative advantage to jointly identify opportunities and challenges along the chain and work together to address these challenges and exploit opportunities, including relevant partnerships, for enhancing performance. The approach guarantees buy-in and ownership by all actors, thereby ensuring the sustainability of interventions and results. The following broad steps along the seed value chain represent the main topics for interventions, as well as key operations and actors involved.


Mainstreaming the informal seed sector

The informal seed sector is an important component of the seed value chain in view of the overwhelming role it currently plays as the predominant source of seeds in Africa. At production, marketing and utilization levels in the seed chain, the informal seed sector carries roles which have important implications on both seed and crop production which need to be addressed. AfricaSeeds also recognizes that interventions in the informal sector have good prospects of evolving well performing informal seed actors into the ranks of the formal sector, thus narrowing the huge numerical and output gaps that presently exist between the formal and the informal seed sectors to the advantage of the latter.

This strategy also enables the scaling up the advantages that the informal seed sector possesses which can be of benefit to the formal sector. For example, the formal seed sector can take a cue from the informal sector regarding indigenous knowledge particularly in genetic resources manipulations, rural seed marketing skills and coverage of food security and minor crops. Consequently, AfricaSeeds will pay attention to informal seed sector issues, including farmers’ rights, smallholder seed systems and how both formal and informal sectors could eventually contribute to the strengthening of the seed value chain in its entirety.

AfricaSeeds considers that for farmers, a good seed delivery system is the one that uses the appropriate combination of formal, informal, market and non-market channels to efficiently meet farmers' demand for quality seeds. To that effect, AfricaSeeds will join with other stakeholders to assist in initiatives aiming at integrating the formal and informal seed sectors through improvement of the performance of the latter with effective quality assurance mechanisms, and the incorporation of its positive practices and benefits into the overall seed sector development and seed industry.


Policy advocacy

Within the context of the CAADP Results Framework, AfricaSeeds will identify and coordinate a process whereby applicable recommendations and outcomes will be fed into national and regional policy formulation processes.



The strategy of subsidiarity enables the hierarchical and complementary roles of different partners to address seed sector issues in a more holistic manner. AfricaSeeds will adopt the strategy of subsidiarity to ensure that the major partners take responsibility for actions based on their strengths and comparative advantages at the continental, regional, national levels. Roles and responsibilities will be agreed with partners operating at different levels.



In implementing its strategy, the success of AfricaSeeds will be dependent on the close collaboration with key partners and stakeholders. A key initiative that is likely to enhance such partnerships is the development of a strong continental data and knowledge platform which will be freely and easily available to all seed sector actors. International organizations and experts will be encouraged to assist in the development of the plateform in terms of human as well as technical resources required.


Public private partnerships

AfricaSeeds will build up expertise in and make good use of the strategy of Public-private partnership (PPP) which has the potential of bringing together the advantages and contributions of the public and private sectors to effectively address problems which in the past have not been satisfactorily addressed by either sector acting alone.



AfricaSeeds recognizes that networking is important to seed sector development. The networking function will enable AfricaSeeds to enhance the sharing of knowledge and experiences among member states as an aid towards addressing emerging issues and scaling up successful initiatives. The publication of a periodic AfricaSeeds network newsletter will be one of the more visible manifestations of the network function but other activities such as conferences, training sessions and visits will also be carried out.


Thematic Groups

Thematic Groups will be established to debate and exchange on identified thematic issues in order to provide consensus or expert opinion on these issues to be presented to the Scientific and Technical Committee for final resolution and recommendations to AfricaSeeds. The Thematic Groups will be led by lead technical experts selected from the wide range of African and development partner institutions. Members of the Thematic Groups will be senior experts who will be willing to engage in discourse on key seed sector topics and issues, mainly on voluntary basis, as far as possible via internet-based exchanges. Membership of the Thematic Groups will be kept at a manageable level, say 6 to 8 experts per group. A minimum number of AfricaSeeds-sponsored assembled group meetings may be organised where specific circumstances so require. The thematic areas will be chosen based on emerging issues in the African seed sector.


Expert Consultation

AfricaSeeds will utilize the strategy of expert consultations to subject key seed sector issues to debate, in collaboration with all partners in the seed sector. Resultant consensus emanating from the discussions will shape the content and direction of AfricaSeeds interventions as well as serve to assist partner organizations in their own actions. In this process, African seed institutions and/or initiatives will be considered as very important allies in building up knowledge and in outsourcing development expertise. All concerned national and international research institutions, seed trade organizations and regional and international seed testing and quality assurance institutions will therefore become very important partners of AfricaSeeds.

©World Bank

Key mechanisms will be adopted to provide greater efficiency and to achieve significant and relevant impacts