The project was done in collaboration with Cornell University for an Africa-based nonprofit organization committed to extend the benefits of better seed to all African farmers. The group targeted 15 agriculture-dependent countries that are home to about 320 million people where lack of seeds for improved crop varieties is adversely affecting food and nutrition security and economic development.
We conducted the secondary and primary research to study the seed systems development in 15 African countries (Angola, Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Congo Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Guinea, Madagascar, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo). During the secondary research, we worked on below thematic areas
- Political and economic situation
- Agricultural ecosystem – crops, constrains and critical challenges
- Seed sector- key players (public/private), source of seeds, Collaborations
- Regional policy frameworks (COMESA, ECOWAS and SADC) – review of country policies
- National Key players in Research & Development, seed production and distribution
The information and data available on seed systems through various sources like The African Seed Access Index (TASAI), Access to Seeds, Reports from World Bank, IFAD, World Economic Forum, FAO and OECD etc. were used.
The secondary research was coupled with primary research by traveling to target countries, interacting with key stakeholders through a semi-structured questionnaire customized for each country and specific stakeholders. Major stakeholders engaged were:
- Government stakeholders
- Ministry of Agriculture
- Regulatory authorities
- Stakeholders from the National Agricultural Research System/Agricultural Universities
- Private seed companies
- NGOs/Farmer Groups/Cooperatives engaged in seed value chain
Feasibility study reports for the target countries incorporated insights from the extensive interactions and country-specific information.
- The matrix for prioritization of the target countries was developed based on the weighted averages of various parameters like state of current, focus crops with high impact potential, R&D resources and infrastructure– public and private, infrastructure for seed value chain, certified seed production, processing, packaging, storage and marketing and human resource capacity.
- The Business Plan was developed describing the need for the suggested interventions, products, technologies, infrastructure and key stakeholders
- Strategic interventions were identified for the priority countries and aphased plan for implementation at a pilot scale, and scale up model was developed
- Financial Model was developed for fundraising by identifying investment requirements for each target country which includes costing involved in piloting and scaling up of proposed interventions viz. infrastructure development, capacity development, professional training initiatives, technology transfer and licensing, logistics support and communications
- An organogram was developed depicting the key personnel requirements and the capacity development initiatives that will be required for making the business plan a success
- A public-private partnership model for improved access to seeds in priority countries with a focus on building strong research and development in the National Agricultural Research System in collaboration with CGIAR systems for access to improved germplasm,
- Professional training for breeders and fellowships for students in plant breeding,
- The development and promotion of local seed enterprises for quality seed production and improvement of existing seed processing infrastructure, and
- Setting up of new agro-dealers to build strong marketing and distribution network and easy access for seeds to farmers coupled with farmer awareness programs
Impact/ Client benefit
The output of this engagement immensely benefited our client during the fundraising for the implementation of the suggested activities.