Seed systems smallholder farmers use
This article (PDF) in Food Security journal elaborated on the importance of informal seed markets for African family farmers. Using a comprehensive data set with 9660 observations across six countries and covering 40 crops, the authors show that farmers access 90.2 % of their seed from informal systems with 50.9 % of that deriving from local markets. Further, 55 % of seed is paid for by cash, indicating that smallholders are already making important investments in this arena. However, current investments are mostly geared towards formal markets instead of informal ones, while the informal sector remains the core for seed acquisition in Africa. These neglected outlets could present a major opportunity for improving access to better crop varieties, which is crucial for dealing with climate, nutrition, and other production challenges. Therefore, the authors conclude their article with some practical interventions that could render the formal and informal seed sector more smallholder-responsive and for scaling up positive impacts. The countries studied were Congo, Malawi, South-Sudan, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Haiti. See also this article for a more extended summary and the author’s comments.