Ten emerging lessons from the African Seed Access Index (TASAI)
This publication (PDF) by the African Seed Access Index (TASAI) shows ten emerging lessons from studies appraising the the structure and economic performance of formal seed sectors in 13 countries. A competitive seed sector is key to ensuring timely availability of high quality seeds of improved, appropriate varieties at affordable prices to smallholder farmers in Africa. From the country studies it is found that in most countries maize dominates formal breeding programs in both research and development investments, and outputs. These studies also show that old varieties persist despite new varieties being introduced. Without polices to retire dated varieties, popular old varieties persist. Local private seed companies are found to play an important role; at least three quarters of the active seed companies in most countries are local. In mature seed sectors, the seed industry is consolidating. South-Africa and Zimbabwe witnessed several mergers and acquisitions in the seed industry, which can result in reduced competitiveness. Other lessons are: the government’s role in seed production is diminishing, but there are exceptions; there are notable improvements in regional seed import and export processes; good policy instruments exist, but there is weak implementation; steady efforts towards privatization of seed inspection services are made; there is a persistent challenge of fake seed; seed trade associations are an important link between industry and government.