Watch this webinar video to learn about gender dynamics around business models for seed delivery in Sub-Saharan Africa

Advances in seed breeding and biotechnology have the potential to transform agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa, but sustainable and inclusive delivery of improved seeds remains a significant challenge. Gender gaps in the extent to which farmers reap the full benefits from interventions in the seed system remain a key challenge.

This webinar presents a review of the literature on alternative business models for seed delivery in Sub-Saharan Africa, focusing on how the marketing and distribution of seeds can be enhanced for women and men alike. The analysis explores a range of innovations that have been developed and implemented in recent years with the aim to boost the availability and quality, access to and, control and use of seeds.

We show that while there are pockets of innovative business models and approaches on both the public and private sector side, many approaches are gender-blind, and the current literature on gender in seed systems focuses on diagnosing gender gaps rather than testing solutions.

The webinar concludes with a call for more action-oriented research, whereby researchers and practitioners work together to test and evaluate innovative gender-sensitive approaches to make the distribution and marketing of seeds both sustainable and inclusive.


Berber Kramer is a research fellow with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). Her research focuses on financial inclusion, agricultural technologies, gender and resilience, with a particular emphasis on designing and evaluating innovative and inclusive approaches to strengthen agricultural insurance, credit and seed systems to help smallholder farmers adapt to climate change. She leads the gender module for the ISSD Africa program and is the Principal Investigator for research programs in Ethiopia, India and Kenya. She is the Editor-in-Chief for the Social Science section of Development Engineering: The Journal of Engineering in Economic Development (DevEng). Dr. Kramer joined IFPRI in 2013 and has a Ph.D. in Economics from the Tinbergen Institute in the Netherlands.


Joe DeVries has been at the forefront of African agricultural development for over 30 years. He earned a PhD in plant breeding and genetics at Cornell University in 1994. In 1997, he joined The Rockefeller Foundation, and turned his focus to breeding and seed systems development as a long-term, sustainable solution to hunger and low crop productivity among smallholder farmers. In 2006, he co-founded the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, designing and then leading AGRA’s flagship initiative, the Program for Africa’s Seed Systems (PASS). As Vice-President for Program Development at AGRA, DeVries led in the establishment of many ground-breaking initiatives. In 2019, he established Seed Systems Group, which is dedicated to developing sustainable seed supply systems in countries which have been left behind in Africa’s emerging Green Revolution.

Silvia Sarapura is an interdisciplinary academic and professor in the School of Environment Design and Rural Development in the University of Guelph, Canada. She has more than twenty years of experience in the fields of rural planning for development, seed systems, transformative change and agricultural R4D across Africa, South East Asia, and Latin America. Currently she is conducting research with the International Potato Center in the Andean Initiative. She is also collaborating with the Biodiversity-CIAT Alliance in the Seed Systems Resilience Project. Until July 2019, Sarapura was a Senior Researcher with the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), Netherlands. She worked with regional multi-stakeholder platforms for seed sector development in Mozambique; Uganda, Ethiopia. She was part of the Integrated Seed Sector Development Africa platform and involved in climate-smart agriculture and gender planning with Dutch and international organizations. As a Post-Doctoral Fellow, she led the Gender Capacity Development and Organizational Culture Change Initiative at WorldFish. Earlier, she worked with the International Potato Center in farming systems and farmer-led research.