New paradigm for scaling seeds in africa


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Is it time for a new seed paradigm for scaling seeds in Africa? Presentation by Richard Jones of STTP/AGRA

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New paradigm for scaling seeds in africa

  1. 1. Is it time for a new seed paradigm for scaling seeds in Africa? A presentation given at the Regional Dialogue on Strengthening African Seed Systems: Technical, Economic and Policy Challenges July 15, 2014
  2. 2. Seed in the context of Global Food Security • Seed is placed highest in order of importance among agricultural inputs – Quality seed gives the single highest return on investment of crop inputs that any farmer may purchase – Acceptance of new seed technologies is dependent on reliable supply • No other input can give such a return on investment or on long term food security – Providing farmers the best choice of seed for their particular environment and needs is paramount – Bad seed cannot be ‘made better’ by adding other inputs – Purchasing power and cash-flow challenges of farmers should be solved in other ways (i.e. not by giving sub-standard seed) Seed gives the highest ‘bang for the buck’ of any agricultural investment
  3. 3. Foundations Consultants Academics FAO National Programs Donors Previous Seed “Projects” in Africa Seed Industry Seed Companies CGIAR Seed Initiative Inputs Initiative NARS NGO’s Contractors CBO Commodity Initiatives Regulatory Initiatives Farmers Seed Industry and Farmers were ‘awkward guests’ in the Development Agenda Private Sector
  4. 4. Understanding seed demand • Acute seed insecurity – Civil and/or natural disasters • Chronic seed insecurity – Usually as a result of poverty • Demand for quality seed – Hybrids • Demand for new varieties
  5. 5. Existing seed systems • Informal (farmer) seed system – Seed production integral to crop production – Farmer seed selection – Regulation through “good neighborliness” – Range of seed acquisition methods – New varieties through social networks, local selection, and formal seed system – Very resilient • Formal (commercial) seed system – Seed multiplication separate from crop production – Quality control regulated externally (seed legislation) – Seed acquired for cash – New varieties through research and development – Dependent on a regular demand
  6. 6. Who are the seed customers? • Deficit producers – Risk averse – Few fungible assets • Vulnerable to disasters – Food and nutritionally insecure – Depend on grain markets • To meet production shortfalls • For seed • Commercially oriented farmers – Risk takers – Greater level of assets • Less vulnerable to disasters – Market surplus production – More likely to purchase seed
  7. 7. Organizational arrangements • Formal (commercial) seed system – Vertically integrated • Large multinationals • Private capital – Vertically coordinated • Smaller seed companies • Mix of investment sometimes including public
  8. 8. Vertically integrated versus vertically coordinated • Vertically integrated – Strategic research • Public and private sector investment – Applied research • Mainly private sector investment – Market research • Private sector – Marketing • Private sector • Vertically coordinated – Strategic research • Mainly public sector investment – Applied research • Mainly public sector investment – Market research • Public and private sectors
  9. 9. Formal seed systems • Successful systems are commercially viable • Public investments in crop improvement need to be accessible – Stimulate seed entrepreneurship – Reduce the cost of seed • Supportive regulatory framework – Stimulate seed trade • Effective regulation required – Quality control etc – Plant variety protection • Development should support and not replace private initiative
  10. 10. Constraints to seed sector development • Technological • Institutional • Policy • Output markets • Relief seed
  11. 11. Technological constraints • Availability of improved germplasm – Open-pollinated varieties – Hybrids • Biological protection of Intellectual Property (IP) • Provides incentives for commercial investment – Research – Seed production and marketing – Transgenics
  12. 12. Institutional constraints • Lack of technical capacity – Seed production, processing and marketing • Poorly developed regulatory systems – Seed quality control – Seed testing services • Over regulation increasing transactions costs
  13. 13. Policy constraints • Small national seed markets • Different agro-ecologies within countries • Similar agro-ecologies between countries • Different regulations between countries – Variety release – Phytosanitary standards – Very limited Plant Variety Protection laws • Results in limited seed trade
  14. 14. Output market constraints • Limited development of output markets • High price volatility • Disincentive to farmer investment • Farmer organizations provide one option – Forward contract – ‘Warrantage’ system to reduce volatility • Introduction of grades and standards – Incentive to use improved seed • More uniform and higher quality of produce
  15. 15. High market transaction costs • Results in expensive seed in rural markets – Focus on few crops with effective demand • High overheads of larger seed companies – To maintain breeding programs • Smaller overheads of smaller companies – Depend on publicly developed germplasm
  16. 16. Economies of scale in crop breeding • Limited commercial investment in breeding • Public investments limited & inconsistent • CGIAR major source of germplasm • Increased adoption with seed investment
  17. 17. Existing approaches • Supply driven – Free seed delivery • “Seeds and Tools” programs • Starter packs/targeted inputs program • Subsidized market-oriented approaches – Community seed banks – Seed for grain exchange • Market-orientated approaches – Seed fairs – Small seed packs – Commercial seed sales • Uncoordinated effort between stakeholders
  18. 18. The way forward • Improve flow of information to seed stakeholders • Improve access to public varieties • Support and strengthen development of private sector capacity • Promote the development of regionalized seed markets • Sustain investment in plant breeding • Support commercial investment
  19. 19. Improved flow of information to seed stakeholders • Develop seed catalogs – Provide information on adaptation – Provide information on seed availability • Publicly developed varieties • Commercial varieties • Publicize new varieties – Community radio – Extension, NGOs, input suppliers, and farmers – On-farm demonstrations
  20. 20. Expanded on-farm demonstrations • Exposes farmers to new varieties • Need to ensure that seed is available to respond to created demand • Involve input dealers and entrepreneurs
  21. 21. Improving access to public varieties • Establish foundation seed units • Sale of small packs • Capacity building in seed production – Hybrids
  22. 22. Foundation seed availability • Need for foundation seed of publicly developed varieties • Effective seed storage to maintain seed stocks • Cost recovery through sales • Market foundation seed – Organized groups of farmers – Seed entrepreneurs – Seed companies • Provide training in seed production and marketing
  23. 23. Seed storage and processing • High capital cost of equipment • Make effective use of underutilized public facilities • Provide services on contract – Seed entrepreneurs – Seed companies – Farmer associations
  24. 24. Promote the development of regionalized seed markets • Harmonization of procedures – Variety release – Seed certification – Streamline quarantine pests and diseases – Establish plant variety protection laws – Implement an accreditation system – Streamline export/import regulations – Strengthen seed trade associations
  25. 25. Regional variety release (SADC)
  26. 26. Need for collaboration • National governments • Regional economic communities • Research institutions – International – National • Private sector – Seed companies – Farmer associations – Seed trade associations
  27. 27. Attract commercial investment • Remove barriers to entry • Let farmers decide – Retain DUS – Remove VCU • Subjective assessment • Allow and support introduction of hybrids • Introduce Plant Variety Protection laws
  28. 28. Conclusions • Successful formal seed systems are the domain of commercial companies not governments • Public investment needed in crop improvement • Balance between public and private investment needs to be dynamic • Private investment needed in seed production and marketing • Effective regulatory framework and support services needed • Ensure relief interventions don’t undermine development
  29. 29. Constraints • Uncoordinated effort • Many released varieties never multiplied • High market transaction costs – High overheads of larger seed companies • Markets distorted by relief seed • National seed markets too small • Private investments in breeding limited • Public investments inconsistent & inefficient • Limited output market development
  30. 30. Background • Improved varieties developed by researchers have not been accessible to farmers due to lack of commercially viable or effective product deployment systems • Lack of consistent quality and supply impedes uptake of new varieties. • Seed Industry best suited to ensure a long term supply of quality seed to farmers • Slow in industry due to numerous challenges – Non-competitive levels of credit access and funding for companies, poor seed systems infrastructure – Regulatory capacity, environment, complexity or an inconsistent administration – Government and Donor ‘free seed programs’ or grain distribution – technical and economic constraints – Under developed business and technical skills – Germplasm and market access
  31. 31. Conclusions