Formal and informal seed systems in Kenya - implications for biosafety regulation


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Biosafety Regulation: Opening up the debate -Lessons from Kenya and Philippines

Workshop in Kenya, 15 - 16 November 2010

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Formal and informal seed systems in Kenya - implications for biosafety regulation

  1. 1. Living in parallel Worlds? Lessons from FAC and STEPS research on formal and formal seed systems in Kenya – implications for biosafety regulation in practice <ul><li>Workshop held at the African Institute for Capacity Development (AICAD), Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) </li></ul><ul><li>15-16 November 2010 </li></ul><ul><li>Hannington Odame </li></ul><ul><li>CABE – Centre for African Bio-Entrepreneurship (CABE) </li></ul><ul><li>Email: </li></ul>
  2. 2. Key messages <ul><li>Both formal and informal seed systems are important channels for delivering cereal seeds to Kenyan farmers --but the policy frameworks, which are informed by international seed policies and conventions, tend to favour the formal systems. </li></ul><ul><li>Co converging notion of the ‘agro-dealer’ as the carrier of improved seeds to farmers -- but due to different politics and interests, actors also support parallel activities seem to undermine development and expansion of the agro-dealer network in some places. </li></ul><ul><li>Capacity building for agro-dealers is useful –but if agro-dealers are to deliver a GR in Kenya, capacity training programmes for agro-dealers should not only target the business owners but also ‘managers’ </li></ul><ul><li>T he universalising of agro-dealer narrative in GR programmes overlooks the heterogeneity of the ‘poor smallholder farmers’ and agro-dealers themselves. –Thus meeting the needs of farmers in lower potential areas require developing innovative alternative business models. </li></ul><ul><li>The GR programmes have been viewed by critics as a ‘Trojan horse’ for genetically modified (GM) seeds or simply a strategy to ‘roll out a gene revolution’ in Africa –But careful consideration is needed before loading agro-dealers with even greater responsibilities and expectations. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Background <ul><li>Cereals grown in Kenya: maize, wheat, sorghum, millet, rice, barley and oats; </li></ul><ul><li>Maize occupies about 50% of total cultivated area & 78 percent of cereal area; </li></ul><ul><li>Following liberalization, cereal production has remained below consumption requirement; </li></ul><ul><li>Government and partners have called for a ‘Green Revolution’ (GR) to reverse this trend; </li></ul><ul><li>Among key strategies is increased generation, promotion & use of modern inputs & technologies; </li></ul><ul><li>Agro-dealers’ role in distributing inputs has earned them recognition in the recent past. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Cereal Seed Systems <ul><li>Seed systems </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Formal – Mainly supplies maize seed and high rainfall areas </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Informal – Mainly supplies seed of other cereals and low rainfall areas </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Main Actors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ministry of Agriculture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>KEPHIS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Research Institutions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Seed Companies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Donors/NGOs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Farmers </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Field and Panel Data Sites Sakai, Mbooni East – Low Potential Likuyani, Kakamega – High Potential Ngecha, Nakuru – Medium Potential
  6. 6. STEPS and FAC research on seed systems <ul><li>STEPS: Concerns about maize innovation and climate change </li></ul><ul><li>Phase 1: Characterising and analysing responses to dynamic changes in different agroecologies (low, medium and High): </li></ul><ul><li>Phase 2: Multicriteria mapping of ‘pathways in and out of maize’ </li></ul><ul><li>9 core pathways in drought-prone farming regions (viz. Sakai): </li></ul><ul><li>FAC: Political economy of Cereal Seed Systems in Kenya </li></ul><ul><li>Phase 1: Can Agro-dealers Deliver The Green Revolution in Kenya? </li></ul><ul><li>Phase 2: The political economy issues of agro-dealers delivering genetically modified (GM) cereal seeds in Kenya? </li></ul>
  7. 7. Issues in STEPS: Phase I & II <ul><li>‘ Why maize?’  understanding the ‘lock in’ to the dominant maize pathway; revealing alternative pathways </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Resilience’ and scale? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ High potential’ – hybrids/intensification and commercialisation/aggregate production and national food security </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Low potential’ – OPVs/ diversification/ context responsiveness </li></ul></ul><ul><li>‘ Parallel universes’? – innovation systems and upward linkages from farmers to breeders and donors  local knowledge, feedback on adoption/disadoption/ preferences are missing – how to build the connections? </li></ul>
  8. 8. Typology of Pathways 1 – Alternative dryland staples for subsistence 2 – Alternative dryland staples for market 3 – local improvement of local maize 5 – Assisted seed multiplication of maize 4 – Assisted seed multiplication of alternative dryland staples 6 – Individual high-value crop commercialization 7 – Group-based high-value crop commercialization 8 – Commercial delivery of new DT maize varieties 9 – Public delivery of new DT maize varieties See Briefing Paper 3 for details Low Maize High Maize Low- External Input High- External Input
  9. 9. Living in parallel worlds or bridging informal and formal seed systems? <ul><li>Formal seed System </li></ul><ul><li>Need for a GR in Kenya (Africa) ‏ </li></ul><ul><li>Need for increased use of modern farming inputs – requires increased access by farmers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Agro-dealers needed to supply inputs & information (photos) ‏ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Informal seed system </li></ul><ul><li>Informal seed systems or farmers seed systems depend on the free exchange of seeds either through small gifts, barter exchange or sale. </li></ul><ul><li>Systems provide 80-100% of seed ‏ requirements </li></ul><ul><li>Majority of the genetic diversity maintained on-farm is managed by small scale agriculture in which farmers’ seed systems dominate </li></ul>A farmer buying improved maize seed from an agro-dealer Seed selector, Sakai On seed selectors... the law is silent. But we know they are there. They play an important role in food security” (Regulator, January 2009):
  10. 10. Informal seed systems in Sakai <ul><li>Strengths </li></ul><ul><li>Affordable and availability of varieties with low external input use </li></ul><ul><li>Varieties are e arly maturing, drought tolerant and more pest-resistant </li></ul><ul><li>Existing traditional knowledge in seed selection, seed preservation, Seed bulking and seed banking </li></ul><ul><li>Limits: </li></ul><ul><li>Limited availability of required qualities especially after droughts, low market prices and narrow distribution span </li></ul><ul><li>Low yields, genetic erosion, emergence of new pests, drought </li></ul><ul><li>Limited availability germplasm, u n-assured seed quality, problem of seed differentiation, ack of capacity for community- based production, </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of recognition by government. seeds </li></ul>
  11. 11. Policy Options for Informal seed systems <ul><li>Policy options: </li></ul><ul><li>R&D in preservation and conservation of local varieties </li></ul><ul><li>Options for regulating informal systems-legal framework to recognize informal systems –especially it is suggested that the Seeds and Plant Variety Act Cap 326 should be reviewed. </li></ul><ul><li>Capacity building-interlinking formal and informal system on production, storage and distribution </li></ul>
  12. 12. Formal Seed Systems <ul><li>Strengths </li></ul><ul><li>Systems mainly deal with hybrids and specialized horticultural crops </li></ul><ul><li>National Seed Policy is based UPOV 1978, Cap 326 under review </li></ul><ul><li>Assured seed quality </li></ul><ul><li>Kenyan formal (e.g. Hybrid maize) is recognised as good seed –with penetration to regional markets (Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, southern Sudan) </li></ul><ul><li>Limits: </li></ul><ul><li>Certified seeds accounts for 20% (35,000 MT) of the total seed use </li></ul><ul><li>S eed maize accounting for about 80% of the total quantity </li></ul><ul><li>most of the breeders are improved seed maize </li></ul><ul><li>Limited formal seed systems reach in low rainfall areas </li></ul>
  13. 13. Agro-dealer Participation in GR: Programmes & Actors <ul><li>Remarks </li></ul><ul><li>Program narratives: Low agricultural production </li></ul><ul><ul><li>linked to farmers’ lack of access to inputs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Challenges: Targeting, Agro-dealers lack capacity (capital) ‏ </li></ul><ul><li>More benefits for high rainfall areas & larger agro-dealers </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Parallel’ government programs bypassing agro-dealers </li></ul>Programme Implemented by Donor Kenya Agro-dealer Strengthening Programme (KASP) ‏ CNFA/AGMARK, GoK, Equity Bank AGRA,IFAD National Accelerated Agricultural Inputs Access Programme (NAAIAP) ‏ MoA, CNFA/AGMARK, Equity GoK Maize Seed for the Poor (MSP) ‏ CIMMYT, IFPRI, KARI, STAK, Equity USAID, ASTA
  14. 14. Policy implication for biosafety regulation and practice <ul><li>Regulation: R egulations are concerned only with formal seed supply channels – they by-pass the informal seed systems </li></ul><ul><li>Acceptance: If GM seeds are of hybrid type then thy are unlikely fit into the informal seed system because farmers have always to buy a fresh seed system and cannot be multiplied </li></ul><ul><li>Seed and info delivery: Agro-dealers of the future will deliver novel technologies and allied information for a uniquely GR such as GM seed -- But careful consideration is needed before loading agro-dealers with even greater responsibilities and expectations. </li></ul><ul><li>Capacity: Biosafety regulation has been focused on capacity building at the national level and, so far, not with farmers and intermediaries </li></ul><ul><li>Awareness: Some farmers have been sensitized against use of GM seeds and therefore, agro-dealers may find themselves at crossroads. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Summary: <ul><li>Is informal seed system a distinct system or a ‘stage’ in transition to formal seed system? </li></ul><ul><li>Do assisted informal seed programs important in improved seed use or seed production? </li></ul>
  16. 16. Thank You (Asante Sana!) <ul><li>Contact Address: </li></ul><ul><li>Centre for African Bio-Entrepreneurship (CABE) </li></ul><ul><li>Email: </li></ul>