This presentation was given by Shawn McGuire (Food and Agriculture Organization / FAO) on 21 November 2019, as part of the webinar ‘Gender dynamics in formal seed systems in Sub-Saharan Africa and worldwide lessons'. The webinar was co-organized by the CGIAR Collaborative Platform for Gender Research and CGIAR Research Program on Maize.
Read more about this webinar at: https://gender.cgiar.org/webinar-seed-system-ssa/
Find out about other webinars hosted by the CGIAR Collaborative Platform for Gender Research: http://gender.cgiar.org/gender_events/webinars/
Farming starts with seeds, and seed security is at the heart of what we do in my unit.
FAO’s work on genetic resources and seed security addresses these different aspects of seed security. Availabilty: guidance to support local level seed production groups, Access: information, market support; innovate in ways to get seed to farmers’ hands. Quality - support seed quality guidelines, better breeding (involving farmers), wider use of biodiversity in breeding
Note that we recognize that these categories are imperfect, and that there is considerable traffic between the different systems. ISSD – could fit in here with a new (more localized) type of formal system Important to explore how these systems can link – many ways this could happen. e.g. partnerships with community enterprises; small seed packets; share information and skills Most of FAO’s work has been in the formal areas, as this is the way that member countries see the best chance of improving quality and productivity from R&D.
Differences in access may affect which sources used, and indirectly the variteies and seed types men and women farmers are able to obtain. Access Qual – not so much different trait preferences, but access to sources of innovation, quality seed, storage examples
Gender: Here we look just at maize- in a country in which it is highly commercialized and good formal networks- agro-dealers Local markets used more than agro-dealers. Even in most commercially , most commercial crops Women use local markets proportionally more– are serving -- women
how farmers get new varieties. Slightly more than a third of farmers got anything in last 5 years,. govt and NGOs main source--- unsustainable when via aid Markets are used, but mainly provide major cereals: could be used more
Highlights big gaps for Seed sector development, not least extension – many varieties remain on the shelf. These gaps are big for many farmers and most crops, but gaps will have gendered aspects – particularly when we consider that non-cereal crops often have especial interest for women, and women’s differential access to information or financial services
Not local – already a lot of understanding of adaptation among buyers, and some sellers in these systems. Could be leveraged more if we want to improve access to more, and a wider range of farmers – including women.
Seed policies – seek direction a country wishes to take in many different areas, including: Variety development; seed production; seed quality assurance system; enterprise development; value chain ; Seed security ; extension; Capacity building ; marketing; import/export Consultative process, based on our Voluntary Guide for National Seed Policy Formulation
QDS refers to seed produced by trained groups of farmers or individuals, usually for marketing at a more local scale. It mainly targets crops or sales locations that have less interest from commercial seed companies. Quality assurance standards and processes are designed to be less strict and costly than through the certified seed system. It aims to bring quality seed to smallholder farmers at affordable prices and involve them in seed production. COMPLEMENTS CERTIFIED SEED, NOT REPLACES IT.
Enabling environment – appropriate legal and policy frameworks, strengthened institutions (e.g. ministries ability to draft legislation, implement strategies). EWS – e.g. GIEWS, specialized ones for animal disease (EMPRES), fisheries, food security, transboundary pests Apply risk and vulnerability measures – many areas – along with seed security, include CA, secure land tenure, IPM, agro-forestry, sustainable mgt of land and water
1- germplasm that can be revitalised quickly – recognise that ag not plan, but performance; key is identifying range of tried and tested responses, but als adding to them through environmental analogues. Roles for both local action and formal research at diff scales (e.g. Africa trial sites catalogue – show?) 2 - : broadening initial formal and informal seed supplies and multiplication possibilities. Breeder seed, foundation. Traders key to link to demand, and to understand flows 3- ACCESS key lim factor use of multiple channels (including through local markets); planning especially to encourage access by SVF, small packs, (FUT) better engagement with traders 4- & 5 are huge areas. These will discuss in more details
Access to information, exposure – international commercial sector spends more on field level promotion than anything else. Diversity in organisations, types of crops, even quality assurance channels Access – much can be done here
A. Seed Security
= Farmers are able to access the quality seeds and
planting materials they desire at time of sowing
1. Availability – is there seed in the area, at time of sowing?
2. Access – can farmers buy / barter / borrow seed
(also, related knowledge)?
• Genetic – adapted to environments, traits farmers want?
• Seed - healthy, free of contaminants, can germinate?
(FAO: Seed Security Conceptual Framework)
Formal and informal systems
Channels for access to seed
Govt. Comm. Aid
(Adapted from Almekinders & Louwaars, 1999)
Seed sources smallholders use
% of all seed supplied –
all crops (n=10 076)
(Data from: Haiti, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, South Sudan,
Democratic Republic of the Congo; McGuire and Sperling, 2016)
• Informal sources dominate
• Purchase is important
– mostly in local markets
• Farmer-farmer exchange?
Gender and seed security
• Availabilty – (not normally limiting)
Gender: Which crop? E.g. vegetative,
neglected / underutilised?
• ACCESS – frequently a constraint
Gender: Purchasing power, information channels, mobility,
links to financial or policy support
• Quality – can be a constraint
Gender: linked to access; support for on-farm storage,
5CGIAR Gender Platform Webinar21 Nov 2019
Local Markets and Gender – maize n=464
68 %14 %
Sources of new varieties (n=1, 683)
* Incl.: social networks 7.5%; contract growers 0.2%
community seed groups 1.7% ; other 1.7%
37% of farmers- across crops
CGIAR Gender Platform Webinar21 Nov 2019
821 Nov 2019
- sources for maize (circles)
- supply corridor for beans (line)
B. Quality Declared Seed / Planting Material
• Some countries have adopted: Quality Declared Seed / Planting
• Aim: expand reach of formal system (geography, crops, producers);
fill gaps; bring quality seed to smallholders at affordable prices
• Successes in Uganda – production of legume QDS expanded, prices
lower than Certified seed
• Potential to improve access, expand market opportunities?
• Needs access to Foundation seed, technical and institutional support,
an enabling environment, effective distribution and marketing
• Many questions remain, particularly around farmer demand,
benefits, impact on diversification
CGIAR Gender Platform Webinar21 Nov 2019
FAO’s Resilience strategy has 4 pillars
1. Enable the environment – policy frameworks and institutions
2. Watch to Safeguard – early warning systems
3. Apply Risk and vulnerability reduction measures – Seed
security, natural resource management, adaptation planning
4. Prepare and respond – seed reserves, contingency plans;
humanitarian assistance, social protection
Resilience and seed systems
• Diversity important –germplasm, channels,
• Range of flexible responses needed crop and
variety portfolios, farmer choice
• Comes via Systems, not assets: Not only a variety
CGIAR Gender Platform Webinar21 Nov 2019
Some areas for action
1. Identifying varieties suited to different scenarios:
‘crop/seed systems in reserve’;
2. Enhancing availability of diverse varieties;
3. Ensuring access to diverse seed, for vulnerable;
4. Information systems to build knowledge of all seed
chain actors of supply, demand, adaptation - and
5. Expand crop/variety repertoires, seek opportunities.
Linking seed systems to dynamic elements – e.g.
commercial opportunities, crossing geographic
(adapted from McGuire and Sperling, 2013)
• Demonstration plots, Farmer Field Schools, seed fairs
• Decentralize and diversify seed production
• Supporting access: use diverse supply channels
• Supporting access: financial services, social
protection. Also - insurance? Unconditional cash?
• ICT - Early warning systems, market information
• Regional harmonization of seed policies
CGIAR Gender Platform Webinar 1321 Nov 2019
A six-module Toolkit to support the
development of farmer-led and
smaller-scale seed enterprises
(English, French and Spanish)
• Development of Small-Scale Seed
• Seed Processing
• Seed Quality Assurance
• Seed Sector Regulation
• Seed Marketing
• Seed Storage
Shawn McGuire email@example.com
Seed security Officer
Plant Production and Protection Division