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L E A D A U T H O R S :
Jason Donovan
Pieter Rutsaert
Kai Mausch
Conny Almekinders
Essegbemon Akpo
Margaret McEwan
Kelvin ...
S E T T I N G T H E B A S E S
2
The Big Picture
• Overall, crop improvement by the CGIAR stands out for its capacity to deliver impact:
• “most profound d...
• Seed value chain (SVC): actors who are interlinked through both commercial
and non-commercial relationships in the devel...
Spotlighting key actors & issues in seed value chains (SVCs)
FARMING HOUSEHOLDS
• Households with diverse set of aspiratio...
F A R M E R S E E D
D E M A N D
6
Advances in understanding farmer seed demand
Decades of work by CGIAR and others in the fields of
economics, gender studie...
But… growing calls for innovation in how we
assess seed demand
In terms of context:
“Research methods for studying farmers...
Persistent gaps in understanding seed demand
Performance of varieties & seeds
• Limited systematic information on the perf...
Farmer-seed demand typologies:
Recognizing heterogeneity among farming households
40 % of the farmers have adopted improve...
Responding to variation in farmer’s seed demand
means understanding their perspective and
experiences to identify the best...
Advancing a demand-driven approach in CGIAR to
prioritize breeding efforts
3 key components:
• Market segments: unique com...
S E E D B U S I N E S S E S
and
S E E D VA L U E C H A I N S
13
Seed businesses: more than just a
vehicle for seed delivery
• Seed systems interventions have tended to focus on seed busi...
Bringing new seed into formal systems: Seed portfolio management
• Product life cycle management is important for:
o Profi...
Value chain for genetically improved farmed tilapia, Bangladesh
Private sector broodstock
multiplication hatcheries
Seed P...
Value chain for hybrid maize, Kenya
Seed companies
Seed Production Seed marketing & distribution
Distributors &
agro-deale...
Value chain
for tree
seedlings
Seed production Seed/seedling distribution
Farming households (smallholder,
rainfed)
Curren...
Regulatory issues:
• (il)legal status informal seed
production
• Varietal registration procedures
• Quality assurance, inc...
Government initiatives for quality seed & EGS supply
• In Tanzania the Agricultural Seed Agency was
established as a publi...
TA K I N G S T O C K
and
T H E R O A D A H E A D
21
Taking stock (1)
• While progress has been made on understanding seed demand, the insights gained have had limited influen...
• Faster growth of seed businesses requires access to effective, affordable services that meet a variety of needs (beyond
...
The road ahead…
• We urgently need more reflection and scrutiny on the theories of change that underpin contribution to SD...
Relevant research
• Almekinders CJ, Beumer K, Hauser M, et al. (2019) Understanding the relations between farmers’ seed de...
The writing team
Jason Donovan is a Senior Economist at CIMMYT, based in Mexico. His work on seed markets and seed busines...
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Strengthening seed value chains: Persistent challenges and ways forward Slide 1 Strengthening seed value chains: Persistent challenges and ways forward Slide 2 Strengthening seed value chains: Persistent challenges and ways forward Slide 3 Strengthening seed value chains: Persistent challenges and ways forward Slide 4 Strengthening seed value chains: Persistent challenges and ways forward Slide 5 Strengthening seed value chains: Persistent challenges and ways forward Slide 6 Strengthening seed value chains: Persistent challenges and ways forward Slide 7 Strengthening seed value chains: Persistent challenges and ways forward Slide 8 Strengthening seed value chains: Persistent challenges and ways forward Slide 9 Strengthening seed value chains: Persistent challenges and ways forward Slide 10 Strengthening seed value chains: Persistent challenges and ways forward Slide 11 Strengthening seed value chains: Persistent challenges and ways forward Slide 12 Strengthening seed value chains: Persistent challenges and ways forward Slide 13 Strengthening seed value chains: Persistent challenges and ways forward Slide 14 Strengthening seed value chains: Persistent challenges and ways forward Slide 15 Strengthening seed value chains: Persistent challenges and ways forward Slide 16 Strengthening seed value chains: Persistent challenges and ways forward Slide 17 Strengthening seed value chains: Persistent challenges and ways forward Slide 18 Strengthening seed value chains: Persistent challenges and ways forward Slide 19 Strengthening seed value chains: Persistent challenges and ways forward Slide 20 Strengthening seed value chains: Persistent challenges and ways forward Slide 21 Strengthening seed value chains: Persistent challenges and ways forward Slide 22 Strengthening seed value chains: Persistent challenges and ways forward Slide 23 Strengthening seed value chains: Persistent challenges and ways forward Slide 24 Strengthening seed value chains: Persistent challenges and ways forward Slide 25 Strengthening seed value chains: Persistent challenges and ways forward Slide 26
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Lead authors: Jason Donovan, Pieter Rutsaert, Kai Mausch, Conny Almekinders, Essegbemon Akpo, Margaret McEwan,
Kelvin Mashisia Shikuku
Contributors: Peter Coaldrake, Erik Delaquis, Marcel Gatto, Jon Hellin, Jens-Peter Barnekow Lillesø, Okeyo MwaiLilleso, Sunil Siriwardena, David Spielman, and Yigezu Atnafe Yigezu
Updated as of October 2021

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Strengthening seed value chains: Persistent challenges and ways forward

  1. 1. L E A D A U T H O R S : Jason Donovan Pieter Rutsaert Kai Mausch Conny Almekinders Essegbemon Akpo Margaret McEwan Kelvin Mashisia Shikuku C O N T R I B U T I O N S : Zewdie Bishaw Peter Coaldrake Erik Delaquis Marcel Gatto Jon Hellin Jens-Peter Barnekow Lillesø Okeyo MwaiLilleso Sunil Siriwardena David Spielman Yigezu Atnafe Yigezu Strengthening seed value chains: Persistent challenges and ways forward March 2021
  2. 2. S E T T I N G T H E B A S E S 2
  3. 3. The Big Picture • Overall, crop improvement by the CGIAR stands out for its capacity to deliver impact: • “most profound documented positive impacts” relative to other CGIAR programmatic areas (Renkow and Byerlee 2010) • “global success story” built upon a foundation of open access and international cooperation (Byerlee and Dubin 2019) • Various challenges remain for accelerating/deepening impact: • limited business capacity/willingness, especially in the case of non-hybrid seed • insufficient priority given to consumer-preferred traits • unobservable attributes (quality, stress tolerance) • cumbersome regulatory frameworks around seed production/trade/marketing • incomplete recognition for and (lack of) support for informal seed sector • The times are changing (see box), with important implications for future priorities in 1-CGIAR: • innovation in approaches to seed systems development, recognizing heterogeneity among farmers in needs, capacities and goals • validated solutions (across crop and regional contexts) for faster slow varietal turnover and higher adoption rates • more reliable data for design and delivery of products and services for seed systems development • deeper learning on how to achieve faster impact at scale (more efficiently) through breeding and related seed systems work • Changing times require new thinking and approaches by CGIAR: broader research agenda that responds to the goals and needs of stakeholders, deeper (evidence-based) engagement between breeding and social science teams, solution orientation to the bottlenecks in varietal turnover and seed adoption, effective solutions for seed delivery where markets are thin (fewer buyers and sellers) • This slide deck applies a value chain framework for exploring the issues, bottlenecks and unknowns, related to seed systems development and its contribution to SDGs The times are changing... • 1-CGIAR mission: innovations deployed faster, at a larger scale, and at reduced cost, having greater impact where they are needed the most • Excellence in Breeding and Crops to End Hunger: push for higher efficiency and impact of CGIAR breeding programs: programs define ‘product profiles’ to match defined market segments, prioritized by ‘investment cases’ • Various ongoing bilaterally funded regional programs on seed delivery, with varying levels of CGIAR engagement (e.g. ISSD, S34D) • Strong market orientation in donor-funded investments on seed delivery (e.g. AGRA), services for seed production (e.g. QualiBasic Seed) & seed access monitoring (e.g. TASAI, Access to Seeds Index) • Firestorm of mergers & acquisitions in global seed markets: from 6 to 4 major players: eg: four-firm concentration ratio 99% for maize seed in S. Africa (OECD 2018) 3
  4. 4. • Seed value chain (SVC): actors who are interlinked through both commercial and non-commercial relationships in the development, production, assessment, transport and use of seeds. • Seed value chain development: process by which seed value chains evolve to deliver increased value/quality to seed users. Implies the design/creation of the ‘right’ product for farmers & consumers and efforts to strengthen the chain’s capacity to deliver the product to the ‘right’ farmers. The development processes may require: upgrading of business capacities, deeper coordination among actors, access to reliable data on seed markets (farmer demand), and an enabling environment that supports seed business growth. • Seed demand: farmers preferences for (and access to) seed, which respond to different farming conditions, household strategies, knowledge about seed, among other factors. Within a population of farmers, considerable variation exists in seed demand, suggesting the need for multi-dimensional approaches to seed production and delivery. SVCs, which tend to operate in formal seed systems, represent one approach, but others may be needed (e.g. attention to informal systems). • Seed business: organizations (for profit or non-profit) that produce and/or market seed – may include informal community nurseries, livestock/fish rearing groups and individuals – they engage with projects, NGOs, and government agencies, as well as with other private sector actors (e.g. retailers, seed outgrowers, farmers). • Service providers: businesses, NGOs, consultants that provide goods, services and technologies to SVC, to include seed production inputs (to include foundation seed), financial services, and marketing support. Value chain principles 1. Demand oriented 2. Primary focus on value and quality 3. Product orientation towards differentiation 4. Responsive to changing needs 5. Collaboration between stakeholders 6. Towards chain optimization 7. Extensive information sharing Hobbs et al. (2000), Fearne et al. (2012) Terms and abbreviations 4
  5. 5. Spotlighting key actors & issues in seed value chains (SVCs) FARMING HOUSEHOLDS • Households with diverse set of aspirations, capacities and needs, with implications for seed selection • Exogenous factors shape their seed choices: seed availability, seed quality, seed price, and information on available options • Farmers’ cannot assess the quality and attributes of seed before they use it: induces additional risk into decisions on seed selection • Seed access varies by crop and location, with serious limits to the reach of seed value chains in areas where demand is low / unreliable • Variation among households based on socio- demographics (e.g. age, gender), crop use (e.g. sell, own consumption) and crop utilization (e.g. processing, type of dish) also influence seed update Priorities for value chain development • Build information systems that deliver reliable and timely information on farmers’ demand for seed • Support faster feedback loops between breeding programs, seed businesses, state agencies on current and future seed demand • Build evidence base to support better design and implementation of seed systems development that recognizes the variation in demand and access SEED BUSINESSES • Responsible for seed multiplication; engage upstream with germplasm providers and breeding programs and downstream with seed retailers, government/NGO buyers, and farmers (customers) • They take different organizational forms in formal sector (e.g. private businesses, cooperatives, state owned enterprises) and informal sector (e.g. seed production groups, community tree nurseries) • Businesses exhibit strong variation in strategies and capacities to multiply and market seed, with implications for varietal turnover and investment in seed marketing • They operate in a complex institutional setting with growing/strong competition among businesses for market share, for access to germplasm and NGO/government contracts Priorities for value chain development • Innovation in seed marketing in support of higher adoption, varietal turnover, gender & social equity and other SDGs • Increased collaboration with other seed companies and with retailers to increase efficiencies and expand markets • Access to reliable information on seed demands (market conditions) to support targeted strategies for seed delivery (marketing) SERVICE PROVIDERS • Government agencies engaged in national strategy and policy, regulation of markets, investment in enabling soft and hard infrastructure, provision of complementary services (e.g. extension), provision of incentives (e.g. taxes, subsidies, tariffs), quality assurance mechanisms • NGOs that provide training and technical support in business administration and marketing at no cost • Research centres that provide access to new genetics for seed production and training for seed multiplication • Consultants and private companies that provide inputs and services (financial and advisory) to seed businesses and seed retailers on a commercial basis Priorities for value chain development • Instruments and mechanisms to create the enabling conditions and incentivize investment by SVC actors • Explicit policy measures for support to formal and informal seed businesses and retailers • Private service providers to expand their support to seed businesses to address bottlenecks around seed quality and market expansion • Coordinated approaches among services providers and seed businesses for increased efficiencies and scale 5
  6. 6. F A R M E R S E E D D E M A N D 6
  7. 7. Advances in understanding farmer seed demand Decades of work by CGIAR and others in the fields of economics, gender studies, psychology, sociology and marketing offers sharp insights into seed demand Some of the factors that shape seed demand: • Utilization of end-product (e.g. taste, texture, storage, milling) • Production systems (farm size, soil, water, infrastructure, agroecology) • Household characteristics (education, access to labor, livelihood strategies, income levels, culture) • Intra-household dynamics (access to cash, resource allocations, inter- generational relations, agency, voice) • Experience with and expectations of yield gains, economic benefits • Institutional factors (land tenure) • Reliable physical access to seed • Information on seed options (and interest/capacity to learn) • Risk reduction instruments (e.g. index insurance) • Marketing capacities/strategies of seed companies and retailers Source: Sperling et al. (2020) 7
  8. 8. But… growing calls for innovation in how we assess seed demand In terms of context: “Research methods for studying farmers’ seed demand are not yielding information that reflects the real-life decisions and behaviors of farmers in the choice and acquisition of their seeds.” (Almekinders et al. 2019) In terms of external validity: “Crop adaptation to climate change requires accelerated crop variety introduction accompanied by recommendations to help farmers match the best variety with their field contexts. Existing approaches to generate these recommendations lack scalability and predictivity in marginal production environments.” (van Etten et al. 2019) “…parcel and farmer selection, together with behavioral responses in agronomic trials, can explain why yield gain estimates from trials may differ from the yield gains of smallholders using the same inputs under real-life conditions” (Laajaj et al. 2020) In terms of gender and consumers: “Insufficient consideration of gender differences has contributed to inadequately described varietal product profiles. Women are often involved in the preparation and processing of RTB crops and, therefore, have more valuable knowledge and expertise. However, more evidence is needed and surveys about adoptions must include clear gender and expertise disaggregation of trait preferences in order to provide more illuminating data.” (Thiele et al. 2020) “Breeding programs for root, tuber and banana (RTB) crops have traditionally considered consumer demand for quality characteristics as low priority against other considerations such as yield and disease resistance.” (Forsythe et al. 2020) 8
  9. 9. Persistent gaps in understanding seed demand Performance of varieties & seeds • Limited systematic information on the performance of varieties, effect of seed quality and seed degeneration, cost/benefit of different type of planting materials in a farmer agro-ecological and socio-economic context • Lack of reliable info that compares how farmers’ obtain and use seeds (e.g. formal-informal, improved – local, certified – local) and the implications for the design of seed systems interventions Agroecological & socioeconomic factors that shape demand • Production systems (farm size, soil, water, infrastructure, agroecology, land tenure) • Objective of agricultural production (main income/home consumption) and utilization of end-product (e.g. taste, texture, storage, milling) • Household characteristics (e.g. education, access to labor, livelihood goals and strategies, income levels, culture) and intra-household dynamics (e.g. access to cash, resource allocations, inter-generational relations, agency, voice) • Experiences with and expectations of yield gains, economic benefits, access to information and seeds, risks and risk reduction instruments, etc. Highly differentiated demand for seed expressed in different variety/seed preferences and acquisition behavior Looking ahead: Options to increase the relevance and efficiency of CGIAR research on seed demand • Build processes that encourage better communication & coordination between social science and breeding teams for setting priorities and designing interventions • Advance practical solutions to well known methodological challenges in assessing farmers’ demand – to include estimation of demand for seed with unobservable attributes • Support more research that provides representative estimates on demand/preferences of smallholders to better guide breeding priorities • Encourage stronger collaboration among centers on design of tools and approaches for research and engagement on seed value chains • Stronger collaboration with external partners with a strong track record in engaging on solutions to seed systems development 9
  10. 10. Farmer-seed demand typologies: Recognizing heterogeneity among farming households 40 % of the farmers have adopted improved varieties challenge is i) variety replacement and ii) seed quality Rural Urban Commercial farmer 30-40 % of the farmers with mixed challenges of: • Adoption of (new) improved varieties – if: seed is available/accessible; low/variable on input requirement; good market prices; information is available to farmers; farmers’ seed demands are rightly captured (?) • Higher quality seed 20-30 % of farmers are in a poverty trap: agriculture cannot lift them out of poverty – least likely to benefit from development of seed value chains. Subsistence- oriented farmer Smallholder / reorienting family farmer Theories of change underpinning seed system development and related breeding efforts tend to overlook variation in farmers’ needs and goals. Looking ahead… there is need for greater recognition of heterogeneity among households in terms of their access to resources, livelihood strategies, and production systems. A better understanding of this heterogeneity will facilitate: • Design of multidimensional strategies to effectively reach different segments of the seed market • Prioritization of activities/investments by breeding programs and seed systems teams • Better guidance on effective distribution/marketing strategies by seed providers and retailers. • Identification of the best placed outreach partners for getting the right seed to the right farmers • Coordination of complementary support for the poorest farmers (those for whom better access to seed alone is unlikely to lead to meaningful outcomes/impacts) 10
  11. 11. Responding to variation in farmer’s seed demand means understanding their perspective and experiences to identify the best opportunities for seed value chains to deliver at scale Serious commitments bring up serious questions, dilemmas and choices.... • Who are the farmers that we are targeting and how do their goals and economics look like? • How do different types of farmers source seeds from the various commercial and other seed value chains/delivery pathways – taking in consideration the seed system characteristics of various food crops (maize vs grain legumes/small grains vs root-tuber- banana crops. • If aiming to improve livelihoods, agricultural food production, and other SDG goals, •what trade-offs present themselves and •which seed value chains to invest in •how to reshape them, i.e how to integrate the future in the setting of goals of farmers, breeders, and other value chain actors? • Acknowledge differences between crops/livestock/trees and their seed systems/value chains (e.g. commercialization potential of seed) • Implications for CGIAR in terms of what SVCs to work on in the different crops/livestock/trees and how? • Critical questions, different thinking required, e.g. how high do adoption rates or variety turnover have to be to be ‘successful’? 11
  12. 12. Advancing a demand-driven approach in CGIAR to prioritize breeding efforts 3 key components: • Market segments: unique combinations of grower and consumer needs • Investment cases: the ‘opportunity’ in a market segment to advance development goals through breeding pipeline • Product profiles: ‘ideal’ product for growers and consumers in a given market segment Crops to End Hunger (CtEH) implementation mechanism (April 2020): “Develop and present an investment case for each of the pipelines/product profiles managed by the Center that provides enough detail to allow Funders to allocate specific amounts of funding to specific product profiles.” Requires considerable data – example: Challenges to advance include: • Timely and reliable data just isn’t available at level of market segment, leading to ‘best guesses’ • Approaches and tools are needed to operationalize the concept of ‘market segments’ • Unclear divisions of labor persist between breeding leads, social science teams, breeders, GIS units, etc. for data collection and analysis • Mechanisms still need to be designed for scrutiny within CGIAR teams on data reliability and options for improvements over time • Limited discussion on differences in methods and approaches between centers and options/needs for harmonization Addressing these challenges will take time and creativity, but the ball is rolling… 12
  13. 13. S E E D B U S I N E S S E S and S E E D VA L U E C H A I N S 13
  14. 14. Seed businesses: more than just a vehicle for seed delivery • Seed systems interventions have tended to focus on seed businesses in their role as seed producers/suppliers • Businesses considered more as a vehicle for seed production and delivery by than as organizations with unique strategies, capacities and needs • We know too little about the pathways in which businesses evolve and the implications for getting higher quality & more affordable seed to the different type of farmers for the different crops/livestock/trees • Seed companies, especially smaller ones, often struggle to build market share for new varieties; challenges include: • weak financial viability • high seed production costs • weak links to retail sector • lack of business management and marketing stills • farmers reluctant to switch to new varieties (sticking to what they know) • unlevel playing field (e.g. well connected businesses with preferential access to government contracts, particular varieties) • Improvement over time will require more attention to the needs and strategies of seed businesses, their engagements with the other chain actors, and development of the overall business environment • Need to embrace better and faster learning about seed business development pathways è expanded set of metrics beyond seed production volumes Knowledge gaps related to seed businesses and their role in supporting inclusive seed value chains • Variations in development pathways across crops, regions, and business types • Needs (demand) for services and inputs to grow operations in less time • Capacity and willingness to reach the poorest of farmers • Anti-competitive behavior, and other issues, that limit getting more seed delivered at lowest cost • Potential to expand sales through innovative engagements with wholesalers, retailers, NGOs, others • Costs and benefits of new marketing approaches / tools • Effects of market structure on the willingness and capacity of seed businesses to introduce new varieties 14
  15. 15. Bringing new seed into formal systems: Seed portfolio management • Product life cycle management is important for: o Profit-oriented seed businesses: to stay ahead of competition and keep improving the product portfolio o Breeding programs: ensure new genetic innovations reach farmers • In theory, businesses introduce new products over time, while phasing out older versions • Requires long term planning and the ability to build market share for new seeds and cover the losses from the reduction of sales of older seeds Time Introduction Growth Decline Maturity Introduction Growth Production Product A Product B In reality, seed businesses may be reluctant to remove top selling products from the market: • It’s difficult to build market share for new seeds, with limited clarity on how farmers make their seed purchase decisions (including the role of brand loyalty, quality perceptions, price) • Business lack the investment capacity needed to sustain a forward-looking portfolio management strategy • Or, they just don’t feel the need to invest in replacement… (farmers as loyal customers) What are the best options to advance faster turnover by seed businesses? Carrots: financial/tax incentives to take varieties off the market Sticks: withhold access to breeder seed for older varieties Mandates: regulatory requirements to take old seed off the market 15
  16. 16. Value chain for genetically improved farmed tilapia, Bangladesh Private sector broodstock multiplication hatcheries Seed Production Seed distribution Commission agents, seed traders Farmers Both homestead and commercial CGIAR, NARS (e.g., Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute - BFRI) Seed production Seed distribution Farming households (smallholder, rainfed) Current situation • There are currently two models for the genetically improved farmed tilapia (GIFT): one (presented above) starts with CGIAR and BFRI providing elite germplasm to a few private sector broodstock multiplication hatcheries (located in different parts of the country) which then sell broodstock (mixed-sex seed) to multiplier hatcheries and fry/fingerlings (mono-sex seed) to grow-out farmers. BFRI also sells to multiplier hatcheries. • In this model, multiplier hatcheries are supposed to replace their broodstock after about 2 years with new broodstock obtained from the breeding nucleus at BFRI and private sector broodstock multiplication hatcheries in order to reduce inbreeding and maximize genetic gain. • The main issue is low demand for elite germplasm by multiplier hatcheries which continue to rely on their own seed for broodstock development. • The broodstock multiplication hatcheries and the multiplier hatcheries mostly sell commercial (mono-sex) seed directly to farmers. Some hatcheries have agents who help with distribution. In other cases, seed traders buy from hatcheries and sell to grow-out farmers. • Infrastructure problems and hidden costs during transportation hinder effective distribution. • Credit constraints • Limited knowledge in identification of good quality seed and accredited seed suppliers • High cost of complementary inputs such as feed constrains demand for quality fish seed • Inadequate knowledge in better management practices resulting in sub- optimal performance of elite strains which could in turn affect effective demand Major challenge: low demand for elite germplasm by multiplier hatcheries Private sector multiplier hatcheries 16
  17. 17. Value chain for hybrid maize, Kenya Seed companies Seed Production Seed marketing & distribution Distributors & agro-dealers NGOs (local) governments Farmers Commercial farming operations Smallholder farming households (rainfed) CGIAR, NARs, AGRA, others Seed production Seed distribution Farming households (smallholder, rainfed) Current situation • Dozens of small seed companies looking to build market share, parastatal company that dominates market, multinationals increasing their presence • Currently over 80 hybrid maize seeds on the market, with 10% launched in past 5 years • Little variation in price among seed products (except for seed from parastatal), most seed packaged in 2kg bags • Marketing concentrated on demo plots & radio • Limited investment capacity, lack of information, high risks to market new products • Thousands of small agro-dealers scattered around maize growing regions • Small-scale businesses, where seed comprises but one among many products sold • Limited efforts made to market seed to farmers, and limited engagement with farmers on seed selection • Agro-dealers purchase seed in small volumes, frequent restocking during maize season (responsible for all unsold seed) • Most farmers purchase seed on a seasonal basis • Tend to purchase seed products that are well known and trusted • Farmers have limited information on seed products (or interest in exploring new seed products) • Maize gain productivity remains low, at roughly 2 MT/Ha, with increasingly variable rainfall patterns and increasing frequency of prolonged droughts Major challenge: slow varietal turnover 17
  18. 18. Value chain for tree seedlings Seed production Seed/seedling distribution Farming households (smallholder, rainfed) Current situation • Large differences between types of “trees”, with respect to their reproduction, characterization of quality, production capacity of sources • Except for fruit tree cultivars and commodity crops (e.g. cocoa, coffee, tea, rubber, cashew nuts) varieties are generally not recognized in agroforestry • Wild and semi-domesticated trees, e.g. fodder trees, timber trees, fertilizer shrubs are almost never characterized into varieties (provenances) despite that all trees have varieties (provenances) with specific recommendation domains • All “tree” types have in common that smallholder farmers generally do not have access to quality planting material – documented sources are not made available by the public sector or private companies, not only for wild and semi-domesticated species, but even for fruit tree cultivars and commodity crops • Distribution systems dominated by supply orientation by funders and NGOs – with a focus on number of farmers planting trees, regardless of quality • Funders and NGOs typically finance seed collection from uncharacterized seed sources and establish project nurseries, ignoring existing small-scale private nurseries • Extra cost of using high quality seed sources has very limited influence on cost of seedlings • Farmers purchase tree seedlings in much smaller quantities and on a supra- seasonal basis • Farmers have limited access to knowledge on best varieties • Tree crops are long lived and increasing number of source will become mal- adapted with climate change 18
  19. 19. Regulatory issues: • (il)legal status informal seed production • Varietal registration procedures • Quality assurance, including testing and labeling • Early-generation seed provision • Input subsidy programs • Support for small business development and seed marketing • Antitrust policy • Seed flows, cross-border movement, phytosanitary health/disease spreading, and international trade Enabling environment for seed value chain development Business issues: • Access to affordable financial services and advisory services • Contract enforcement • Timely, reliable market information • Access to modern equipment for production and processing • Risk sharing mechanisms • Targeted support strategies for small and medium (informal) seed businesses • Fairness/transparency in access to government contracts • Influence of output markets on the demand for seed Where CGIAR can contribute: • Assessing costs & benefits of current regulations and alternative measures • Bottlenecks in policy implementation (incentives, externalities, tradeoffs) • Design of effective market information systems • Generating lessons across contexts on what works and why • Engagement with industry groups and NGOs on policy design and implementation 19
  20. 20. Government initiatives for quality seed & EGS supply • In Tanzania the Agricultural Seed Agency was established as a public seed company to take care of EGS of bulky legumes and small cereals • Present government administration has made efforts to put structures in place for proper seed regulation, but implementation and enforcement lag Seed trade • Regional seed trade harmonization in progress and some progress has been made Working differently • Smart implementation of government seed subsidy spurs quality seed access to farmers • Government policy opening large market for small cereals consumption like flour blending Digitizing quality control systems & seed certification • Some countries introducing digital quality assurance systems • Seed certification being digitized in some countries through donor support Multi-stakeholder partnerships • Private-Public Partnerships creating market for farmers to produce highly demand varieties • Development organizations piloting innovative support to private seed entrepreneurship Availability of relevant data • Biophysical data available for on-station performance of new varieties (e.g. yield, stress tolerance) • Data effort being built to inform existing market typology Development of new end-pull markets • The emergence of industrial processors has increased demand of seeds of particular varieties (e.g. small cereal crops) • Business linkages nascent among grain off-takers and farmers Commodity corridors opening business • Localized grain and seed business hubs benefitting all players involved • Market oriented seed and grain production • Technical capacity building and inputs supply to farmers Recent developments & pilots (examples cereals SSA) 20
  21. 21. TA K I N G S T O C K and T H E R O A D A H E A D 21
  22. 22. Taking stock (1) • While progress has been made on understanding seed demand, the insights gained have had limited influence on setting goals of seed value chain development and breeding priorities. More critical reflection is needed on: • Differentiation between farmers and their corresponding differences in variety and seed choices in different crops/livestock/trees • Traits being considered in assessments • Innovation in tools and methods (representative samples) • Engagement with breeding teams, seed businesses, NARs, donors • We need more collaboration (across disciplines, centers, and with key partners) for effective tool design for assessing farmer demand, to include efforts for tool validation across different contexts • Get the basics right: need for representative and timely agronomic*social*economic data on seed, variety and seed market performance (supply, prices, uptake by farmers) and adequate sharing of this information – establish feed back loops to better targeting of support and assessing the relevance of existing and future pipelines; • More nuanced thinking about how to build and meet demand and increased access to seed for the poorest: formal seed markets (value chains) are not equipped to supply all farmers adequately with seed (see Louwaars, de Boef & Edeme (2012); agriculture cannot lift the poorest out of poverty (Hazel et al., 2019) • Consensus on implications of differences for (support to) future projected seed value chain configurations combining formal and informal seed businesses. 22
  23. 23. • Faster growth of seed businesses requires access to effective, affordable services that meet a variety of needs (beyond production capacity). However, these services should not be based on project support alone and long-term sustainability will depend on demand and willingness to pay for these services. • Seed businesses - as well as CGIAR, donors, and governments - operate with a blind eye on seed market conditions: there is little or no timely or reliable information on supply and demand conditions. • The enthusiasm for market-oriented approaches to seed systems development is here to stay: genetic innovation is part of the solution – but need increased attention to other aspects: • Seed production, product registration, quality control • Design of support for seed promotion, sale and delivery • Potential for innovation in grower support, advice and education to increase production • CGIAR is uniquely positioned to lead the conversation on questions related to: seed demand, design of seed systems interventions, seed marketing, seed policy, seed business development – but this will require increased alignment among social scientists and new partnerships (especially with organizations with extensive work in the field) • The theories of change that underpin breeding programs make strong assumptions about the capacities, strategies and incentives of seed businesses and farmers – these need to be scrutinized over time to design more nuanced support strategies. How to address the demands and needs of those outside formal market-led SVC? • Building better theories of change also implies an acknowledgement of the heterogeneity of farmer households and the recognition that agricultural production plays different roles – this implies the need for broader thinking on the approaches, tools and partnerships needed Taking stock (2) 23
  24. 24. The road ahead… • We urgently need more reflection and scrutiny on the theories of change that underpin contribution to SDGs through and seed systems development for different type of farmers. • We need to rethink approaches to assessing differentiated preferences and demand of seed users: more mixed methods, more dialogue with farmers, more reflection with stakeholders • Our work needs to better embrace the complexities and nuances inherent in seed value chains: this implies moving beyond two-dimensional views: informal-formal; private-public; male-female; commercial-subsistence • Better data & deeper engagement: breeding teams need to know: 1) how seeds perform across different farms & farming households and 2) how the pipeline will impact the success and efficiency of the seed system. • Ask more tough and critical questions on what we consider (in terms of metrics) and what explains success and failure of varieties and seed technologies: e.g., we will gain as much from a better understanding why products may pass national registration process but ultimately fail in the market • Time to reflect on our own assumptions, biases and mindsets about seed systems: we need to define and be explicit on whom we focus and why, i.e. which type of farmers, seed value chains and seed businesses. • One-CGIAR is very well positioned to advance an ambitious & impactful R&D agenda around these issues; to include work to generate field-tested frameworks, approaches and tools 24
  25. 25. Relevant research • Almekinders CJ, Beumer K, Hauser M, et al. (2019) Understanding the relations between farmers’ seed demand and research methods: The challenge to do better. Outlook on Agriculture 48: 16-21. 10.1177/0030727019827028 • Byerlee, D. and Dubin, H (2019) Crop improvement in the CGIAR as a global success story of open access and international collaboration. International Journal of the Commons. 4 (1): 452-480. • Das B, Van Deventer F, Wessels A, et al. (2019) Role and challenges of the private seed sector in developing and disseminating climate-smart crop varieties in Eastern and Southern Africa. In: The Climate-Smart Agriculture Papers: Investigating the Business of a Productive, Resilient and Low Emission Future. Cham: Springer International Publishing, 67-78. • Donovan J, Stoian D and Hellin J (2020) Value chain development and the poor: Promise, delivery, and opportunities for impact at scale. Practical Action Publishing, Rugby, U.K. • Forsythe L, Tufan H, Bouniol A, et al. An interdisciplinary and participatory methodology to improve user acceptability of root, tuber and banana varieties. International Journal of Food Science & Technology n/a.https://doi.org/10.1111/ijfs.14680 • Laajaj, R, Macours K, Masso C, Thuita M and Vanlauwe B. 2020. Reconciling yield gains in agronomic trials with returns under African Smallholder conditions. Nature Scientific Reports (2020) 10:14286 • Louwaars N., de Boef W.S. and Edeme J. 2012. Integrated seed sector development in Africa: A basis for seed policy and law. Journal of Crop Improvement 27 (2): 186-214 • Pircher T and Almekinders C. (in press) Making sense of farmers' demand for seed of root, tuber and banana crops: a systematic review of methods. Food Security. • Rutsaert P and Donovan J (2020) Sticking with the old seed: Input value chains and the challenges to deliver genetic gains to smallholder maize farmers. Outlook on Agriculture 49: 39-49. • Spielman DJ and Kennedy A (2016) Towards better metrics and policymaking for seed system development: Insights from Asia's seed industry. Agricultural Systems 147: 111- 122. • Shikuku, K.M., Tran N., Joffre O., Saiful A.H.M.S., Barman B.K., Ali S. and Rossignoli C., 2021. Lock-ins to the dissemination of genetically improved fish seeds. Agricultural Systems, 188, 103042, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agsy.2020.103042. • Thiele G, Dufour D, Vernier P, et al. (2020) A review of varietal change in roots, tubers and bananas: consumer preferences and other drivers of adoption and implications for breeding. International Journal of Food Science and Technology. 10.1111/ijfs.14684 • van Etten J, de Sousa K, Aguilar A, et al. (2019) Crop variety management for climate adaptation supported by citizen science. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 116: 4194-4199. 10.1073/pnas.1813720116 25
  26. 26. The writing team Jason Donovan is a Senior Economist at CIMMYT, based in Mexico. His work on seed markets and seed business development is carried in the framework of the MAIZE and WHEAT CRPs, the Excellence in Breeding (EiB) platform and bilaterally funded projects in eastern Africa and Latin America. Pieter Rutsaert is a Market and Value Chain Specialist at CIMMYT, based in Kenya. His research looks at how maize seed is marketed to smallholders, how farmers make their seed purchase decisions, and innovative options for getting new varieties into the hands of more farmers. Kai Mausch is a Senior Economist at World Agroforestry (ICRAF), based in Kenya. His work focuses on drivers of farming household decision making. Heterogeneity of demands and different visions for future lives play an important role in his projects and the work under CRPs GLDC and FTA. Conny Almekinders is Associate Professor at the Knowledge, Technology and Innovation group, Social Sciences, WUR. Her work on socio-technical interactions in breeding and seed systems is carried out in affiliation with CRP Root Tuber and Bananas and CRP MAIZE with support of NWO-WOTRO. Essegbemon Akpo is Seed Systems Scientist at ICRISAT, based in Nairobi, Kenya. He has expertise in plant production, seed systems, innovation studies, participatory action research, and management of multi-stakeholder processes. Margaret McEwan is a Senior Scientist at the International Potato Center (CIP) and CGIAR Research Program on Roots Tubers and Bananas (RTB), Nairobi, Kenya. She is working on sustainable and inclusive seed systems models for the accelerated dissemination and adoption of market preferred varieties as part of the SweetGAINS project. Kelvin Mashisia Shikuku is an Economist and Scientist (Scaling and Impacts Assessment) at WorldFish, based in Malaysia. His research, within FISH CRP and bilateral projects, focuses on seed systems and approaches for the diffusion and scaling of innovations. 26

Lead authors: Jason Donovan, Pieter Rutsaert, Kai Mausch, Conny Almekinders, Essegbemon Akpo, Margaret McEwan, Kelvin Mashisia Shikuku Contributors: Peter Coaldrake, Erik Delaquis, Marcel Gatto, Jon Hellin, Jens-Peter Barnekow Lillesø, Okeyo MwaiLilleso, Sunil Siriwardena, David Spielman, and Yigezu Atnafe Yigezu Updated as of October 2021

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