With support from ISSD Africa, and in alignment with the ISSD Africa topic on Enabling Seed Policies, Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development of Egerton University and Centre for African Bio-Entrepreneurship (CABE) convened a dissemination and validation workshop on 19th and 20th July in Nairobi.
Entitled “Strengthening seed systems and Market Development in Kenya: Perspectives on political economy and policy processes”, the two-day workshop provided a platform for discussions amongst various actors representing farmers, public sector, private sector, development partners, NGOs, research institutions and academia. Discussions generated insights to support and influence policy for strengthening seed systems and promote market development in Kenya.
The dissemination workshop presented findings of a study conducted by Tegemeo, CABE and IFPRI between June and October 2019. The study assessed the pace and dynamics of policy change and the factors that affect the development of maize and potato seed systems and of markets in Kenya. The study involved a review of key policy, regulatory, and strategy documents relevant to seed system and market development in the country, with a focus on the progress made in strengthening maize and potato seed systems and markets and political economy factors that have influenced policy adoption and outcomes.
The workshop discussions rallied around providing solutions to key challenges identified during the study and validated by workshop participants. Stakeholders committed to effecting changes and realizing proposed solutions through the following recommendations:
- Revise legislations on seed, including the Seed Policy 2010 and the Seed and Plants Varieties Act, to align them with the devolved system of governance, increase efficiency of varietal release and turnover, and create room for farmer-driven seed systems especially for the VPCs.
- Advocate for increased budgetary allocation to agriculture to address issues affecting production, including access to affordable inputs, technologies and extension services.
- Promote innovative solutions to improve access to inputs and extension services. These include, for example, farmer collective action through farmer organizations, leveraging digital technologies for e-extension, facilitating peer to peer learning and output market structuring.
- Build the capacity of regulators, research and extension staff, seed variety developers, and the informal seed system actors. There is need to recognize the role of and formalize the informal seed system and explore ways through which stakeholders such as women, youth and other marginalized groups can take advantage of opportunities along the seed value chains.
- Connect and leverage data and digital technology (e.g., the e-voucher program), art and culture to develop seed value chains, innovatively package evidence and increase uptake to unlock opportunities in financing, markets and research and development for strengthened seed systems.