Billions of dollars have been invested in crop improvement programmes for the development of improved varieties, yet yields in Africa lag significantly behind other regions. Limited use of quality seed and low rates of turnover of improved varieties are among the main reasons for low productivity. Whilst we seem to know a lot about what farmers need, we know the least about what it is they want. Too often we consider farmers as beneficiaries and not as clients. This calls for a better understanding of their consumer behaviour and what works best when promoting quality seed.
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Action learning questions
- How can we best estimate quality seed demand for different crops and varieties in different market segments at local, sub-/national and regional scale?
- What are effective strategies in promoting quality seed use for different crops and varieties in different market segments at local, sub-/national and regional scale?
- How can we influence the policies and practices of commercial and non-/governmental organizations in creating demand?
Activities and outcomes
Over the coming three years, ISSD Africa will identify, pilot and share effective strategies in promoting the use of quality seed of improved varieties. Action learning projects will identify promising methods in seed demand estimation and best practices in seed promotion, and develop effective strategies for commercial and non-/governmental organizations to increase different market segments’ use of quality seed. The objective is not only to increase demand to meet supply, but a better match between what is supplied and what farmers really want.
ISSD Africa aims to improve farmer productivity, household food security and income by promoting the use of quality seed of improved varieties. Having identified, piloted and validated strategies to seed demand estimation and promotion, we plan to equip commercial seed enterprises, both big and small, and development practitioners in non-/governmental organizations supporting the seed sector with the knowledge of what works effectively.