ISSD Africa

African innovation for seed sector transformation

Improving responses to seed insecurity


In times of emergency or natural disasters, seed systems may be disrupted. In these situations, donors aim to deliver rapid-response interventions, but these interventions are often hastily thought out, context-inappropriate and risk weakening the overall system as it recovers and develops. This action learning project proposes to examine donor responses in situations of seed insecurity and aims to develop and/or adapt existing tools to allow donors to 1) quickly assess the context and prioritize their interventions in a timely, coordinated and effective manner, and 2) ensure that their interventions minimally disrupt current market systems and actors, and that they increase overall resilience of the system and ability to bounce back from future shocks.

Action learning questions

Key question 1: How can we improve the impact of emergency seed interventions?

Sub questions which may be addressed during the course of study:

  • How do we quickly assess the context and target areas for interventions?
  • What are the most efficient emergency seed responses for different contexts/shocks?
  • How can we effectively ensure coordination between government, market actors and other donors in emergency responses?
  • How do we make sure emergency seed interventions target the most vulnerable populations and respond to their needs, including women and youth?

Key question 2: How can emergency interventions help create more resilient and improved seed systems in the long-term?

Sub questions which may be addressed during the course of study:

  • What are the types of disruptions and market distortions within a seed system that may be caused by emergency interventions?
  • How can we effectively use development AND market principles in emergency responses to minimize disruption of existing seed systems?
  • How can seed actors in general be better prepared to face emergency shocks and ensuing market disruptions? In particular, how can we ensure the most vulnerable populations do not suffer disproportionately?


Outcome 1: International actors understand and have clear guidance on how to implement efficient and timely emergency seed responses

Outcome 2: International actors include best-practice principles around emergency seed responses to ensure interventions contribute to long-term resilience of systems