Partners collaborating on pre-booking system for breeder and foundation seed, facilitating seed demand forecasting and planning meetings and supporting improved seed tracking and tracing

Authors: Robinah Nakabaggwe1, Hellen Opie1, Chris Muwanika2, & Essegbemon Akpo3

The shortage of Early Generation Seed (EGS) required to scale up production of improved varieties is a major bottleneck hampering availability and access to quality seed for smallholder farmers. The National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) has the mandate to produce and supply quality EGS of improved varieties of crops, majorly cereals, small grains, oilseed crops, grain legumes, pastures, and the vegetatively propagated crops in Uganda.

A research technician at improved white sorghum variety Narosorgh 1 foundation seed multiplication site at NaSARRI, Serere, Uganda. Photo credit: Omaria Sam

According to Mr. Chris Muwanika, the General Manager, NARO Holdings Limited (NHL), NARO has the technical human resources to produce and supply EGS; however, institutional bottlenecks such as the non-tax revenue policy and protracted procurement processes curtail timely reinvestment of funds generated from seed sales to sustain production and supply. As such, NARO cannot effectively respond to the increasing demand for quality foundation seed from commercial seed producers.

To address this constraint, NARO assigned the responsibility of commercial production and supply of foundation seed to NHL. Through the ISSD Africa project and particularly the “Business Models for Early Generation Seed” topic, ICRISAT in partnership with NARO National Semi-Arid Resources Research Institute (NaSARRI), are working together with NHL and other key stakeholders in the seed sector to address EGS supply challenges and thereby sustainably increase the availability of quality seed of improved crop varieties in the country.

ICRISAT, NARO-NaSARRI, and NHL are synergizing to operationalize a pre-booking system for breeder and foundation seed by facilitating seed demand forecasting and planning meetings with EGS actors in the country as well as supporting Seed Tracking and Tracing activities to ensure proper coordination of quality seed delivery. “This will guide production and guarantee sustainable supply of EGS to dedicated seed companies for subsequent production of certified seed for sale to grain producers. The project will also strengthen the capacity of stakeholders in the EGS value chain in the areas of “demand forecasting and production planning” said Mr Chris Muwanika.

Beyond this initiative, the project has also supported on-station breeder and foundation seed multiplication for sorghum and finger millet at NaSARRI. Steps have been taken to secure off-take by initiating a Pre-Booking system through signing of partnership agreements with seed off-takers who produce commercial seed and also function as grain off-takers at the far end of the commodity value chain.

According to Ms. Hellen Opie, a Socio-economist and project Team Leader at NaSARRI, “These efforts will ensure timeliness and availability of breeder and foundation seed in desired quantities by commercial seed producers in the country.”

1NaSARRI/NARO, Soroti, Uganda

2NARO Holdings Ltd, Kampala, Uganda

3ICRISAT, Nairobi, Kenya

Partners: NARO-NaSARRI, NARO Holdings Ltd, ICRISAT

Funder: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) under ISSD-Africa