Toolkit: Supporting smallholder seed systems
This toolkit by IFAD elaborates the challenge for seed sector development on how to address both the informal and formal seed systems so that farmers have access to a sustainable supply of quality seed of improved crop varieties which is affordable, meets their needs (for food, feed and markets), is well adapted to the local agroecologies and adapted to climate change. The Teaser (PDF) provides a brief introduction to the importance, challenges and concepts in understanding the seed sector and how it can impact the livelihoods of poor smallholder households. The How To Do Note (PDF) goes into more detail on assessing the elements of a national seed system. It elaborates an analytical framework for national seed systems through key questions for four main areas; the informal seed systems, the formal seed systems, the relevant institutions and the policy, laws and regulatory aspects. This will provide the basis for a better understanding of the system. Furthermore, it outlines the process to gather information on existing and planned seed initiatives and provides a framework for determining potential seed projects/interventions. The Lessons Learned publication (PDF) expands on key lessons learned to help inform the design and implementation of more effective seed projects. One of the lessons is that the inclusion of the informal seed system in the development of agricultural policy is particularly important for low-input agriculture in marginal agroecologies. Moreover, seed companies can be an important link to get newly developed and released varieties to farmers. Local seed companies are in direct contact with the farmers they serve and have a deep understanding of their needs and the crops and varieties they use. They require sustained demand to be viable enterprises.