ISSD Africa

African innovation for seed sector transformation

Seed in fragile states


Seed systems in fragile states differ from seed systems in more stable environments and offer unique opportunities and challenges. In order to be able to effectively intervene in fragile states, donors and other stakeholders need to understand these differences, as well as understand how to address them with context-appropriate interventions. This action learning project proposes to review the unique challenges of seed systems in fragile states and develop tools to enable donors to: (1) effectively understand these differences; and (2) decide on priority interventions. The tools and knowledge gained will allow more effective interventions to develop seed systems in fragile states and will increase the overall resilience of the system and improve food security.

Action Learning Questions

Key question 1: What are the characteristics of seed systems in fragile states and how are they affected by conflict?

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

  • What are the challenges and opportunities seed systems face in fragile states?
  • What elements of a seed system are most robust in conflict-affected areas and which are disproportionately affected?
  • How does the balance of informal vs formal seed system engagement and effectiveness change in fragile states?

Key question 2: How do we adapt assessments, interventions and learning in conflict-affected environments to promote more resilient seed systems?

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

  • What are the specific challenges and opportunities of various interventions for seed sector development in fragile states?
  • Are current seed system assessments applicable to fragile states? What interventions have been successful?
  • Are there interventions that can reduce gender-specific vulnerabilities? How do gender issues impact the type and effectiveness of various interventions?
  • How can we embed conflict mitigation within seed system interventions to increase social cohesion?


Outcome 1: Stakeholders understand how conflict dynamics impact seed systems

Outcome 2: Stakeholders understand how to adapt and modify their interventions in seed systems to promote resilience of the overall system in fragile contexts