Access to Seeds Index 2019: Synthesis report
The synthesis report (PDF) of the Access to Seeds Index 2019 reflects on the seed industry’s progress and the remaining challenges over this reporting period, against a changing global backdrop. The index seeks primarily to identify leadership and good practices, providing an evidence base for the discussion on where and how the seed industry can step up its efforts. The 2019 index demonstrates that seed companies continue to invest in providing access to seeds for smallholder farmers in index regions, through differing business models and approaches, providing increased evidence of their practices. Where global seed companies lead the way in policy and strategy setting and advanced breeding programs, regional companies excel in areas such as marketing and sales, deepening the reach of the industry in remote areas and providing access to seeds for local crops and open-pollinated varieties (OPVs). Further, small and medium national and regional companies outperform their global peers in multiple areas relevant for reaching smallholders, but they also provide linkages between farmers and global players. Challenges in the sector differ per region. In South and Southeast Asia, the index identified a highly competitive and research-driven industry. However, leading seed companies reach less than a quarter of the smallholders active in this region. In Eastern and Southern Africa, the main challenge is diversification of breeding activities that currently focus mainly on maize. In Western and Central Africa, practically all countries are covered through a combination of homegrown seed companies, seed-producing cooperatives and companies from outside the region. However, only 11 companies actually breed in and for the region. Although a lack of access to quality seeds in many emerging economies persists, with companies still only reaching 10% of the world’s smallholder farmers, the overall improvement in performance between 2016 and 2019 indicates the industry’s growing recognition of and more responsive approach toward this significant client group.