Knowledge for Development

Seed systems

Private investment, professionalisation of breeding and its separation from farming and increasing participation of developing countries in the global trading system have their impact on the seed sector. Commercial and farmers’ seed systems exist next to each other. What are the opportunities for innovation of the seed sector and who will benefit from science and technology? Are indigenous seeds and genetic resources under threat? How can African smallholders benefit from integrated seed systems? What is needed to support integrated seed sector development? This folder examines research and policy needs for developing an integrated seed system in the ACP region.

The two lead articles focus on experiences in the African region. Fetien Abay, from Mekelle University, Ethiopia describes the need for policy and institutional support to develop an integrated seed system that serves African smallholders. She discusses the enhanced role that public universities can play in this regard. Michael Waithaka and Miriam Kyotalimye, from the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA), write about harmonizing seed policy in this region. They share the lessons from a public-private partnership model that evolved to address the challenge of gaps in policy and practice regarding production and trade in seed across 11 countries in the region. Besides publications on research and policy needs, the supporting background documents and web links to this folder contain descriptions of experiences and initiatives that relate to capacity development, outreach, and investment needs from a range of different stakeholders in the seed sector.

The content of these folders were prepared by KIT, CABI and CTA in October 2013.