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Business models for early generation seed

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While the science of discovery has made significant breakthroughs in developing new varieties and agronomic practices, few of these technologies have made their way to smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. The science of delivery has still a long way to go.

A large proportion of farmers is using poor quality seed of old sub-optimally adapted varieties. The relatively low adoption rates of improved varieties of crops other than hybrid maize and hybrid vegetables, have been attributed to various factors including limited awareness of new varieties, mismatch between demand and supply, weak institutional and policy environments but also highly variable agro-ecologies.

Relatively low adoption rates of improved varieties of these crops compared to hybrid maize can be partially attributed to limited supply of early generation (breeder and foundation) seed.  A major difference with hybrid maize is that the economic drivers for high quality Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals (GLDC) seed production and distribution are much weaker, which also makes that EGS production is poorly viable economically.

In this project, EGS integration in seed value-chains of selected crops will be studied to identify critical bottlenecks in production and supply, and interventions to realise models for sustainability of EGS production of GLDC crops will be suggested and tested. 

Action learning questions

Developing sustainable early generation seed supply requires practical evidence on what works, derived from past and current experiences. Through these experiences the project seeks to answer to the following questions:

These questions should lead us to the ability to analyse the following:


Outcome 1: Scalable models of EGS seed production identified and published

Outcome 2: Seed sector development initiative design informed by the insights developed through the project

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