Error message

Strict warning: Declaration of activity_comments_handler_field_comments::init() should be compatible with views_handler::init(&$view, &$options) in require_once() (line 79 of /var/www/main/sites/all/modules/activity/activity_comments/views/


One of the greatest constraints facing the advancement of smallholder agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is low availability of quality, affordable seed of high performing and locally adapted varieties. It is estimated that the commercial seed market in SSA (excluding South Africa) is worth USD 400 million, which accounts for only 10 percent of the total seed planted by farmers. This indicates a high farmer dependence on informal seed systems, which partly contributes to declining productivity in the region attributed to genetically weak seed that is more susceptible to emerging biotic and abiotic stresses.
On the other hand, SSA’s emerging formal seed systems are faced with a number of challenges including lack of access to new germplasm, scarcity of certified seed during the planting season, variability in seed quality and low farmer awareness of the existence of improved varieties in local markets. This situation is aggravated by the fact that the bulk of crop varieties widely available to smallholder farmers in SSA were developed over 30 years ago. In the face of many challenges that inhibit increased agricultural productivity in SSA, including new pests and diseases, climate change and natural resource limitations, enhancing smallholder access to a wide range of affordable quality seed of high-performing and locally appropriate improved crop varieties has never been more critical.

Demand for improved seed in SSA is expected to rise to $1.6 billion over the next 10 years as the need for higher yields and efficiency in food production rises in the region. However, due to a range of policy, market and institutional failures, innovative seed-based technologies with potential to transform agriculture in SSA fail to move from the hands of breeders to those of smallholder farmers. To meet this increasing demand for high quality seed, brokered access to new high performing crop varieties for African seed producers and distributors along with effective product stewardship is essential. This will in turn increase access to quality seeds for smallholder farmers which will enable them to sustainably intensify crop production and offer locally-grown quality produce to domestic and international markets. Empowerment of smallholders and local seed enterprises will foster increased domestic and foreign investment in SSA’s seed sector leading to improved food and income security in the region.


Copyright © 2012 | All Rights Reserved, African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF-Africa)

Powered by Blue Eyes Ltd