Authors: FAO
Keywords: small enterprises; seed policies; smallholders

Farmers everywhere depend on access to good quality seed, which is fundamental to their crop production systems. Most governments have made significant investments in strengthening national agricultural production capacities, yet farmers in developing countries still face difficulties in accessing the quality seed of the varieties that they require. Guaranteeing farmers’ access to quality seed can only be achieved through a viable seed supply system that can multiply and distribute seeds which have been produced or preserved. This is better achieved by the private sector, but medium- to large-scale international seed companies concentrate on high-value crops and avoid dealing in the self-pollinating, open-pollinating and vegetatively-propagated varieties on which most smallholder farmers depend for their food security as the biology of these crops makes it easy for farmers to keep their seeds for several seasons.[…]

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