Identifying leading seed companies in Eastern and Southern Africa
This report (PDF) of Access To Seeds evaluates the efforts of 22 leading seed companies in Eastern and Southern Africa, aimed at improving access to seeds for smallholder farmers. The seed sector in the region has high potential for growth given the favorable environmental conditions for most crops and the increasing demand arising from population growth and climate change. Furthermore, over 50% of seeds is paid for by cash, indicating that smallholder farmers are already making important investments. The variation in policy and regulatory regimes is pivotal to the existing differences in seed sector development in the region. Companies in countries with liberal market system appear to be growing faster and spreading their presence throughout the region. Major companies have a strong base in countries with a strong regulated seed industry. These countries are members of international organizations that support the establishment of a regulatory/enabling environment for the seed industry. Development of some seed markets is hampered due to segregated and small seed markets. Harmonization to one larger market for seed has the potential to improve the flow of improved seeds among countries, thus increasing farmers access to higher yielding varieties. Three regional organization in Eastern and Southern Africa are working on seed regulation harmonization. Seed companies in the region can be group in three types: local, regional and international. In recent years, developments in the seed industry have been driven by acquisitions or merges of regional players by multi-national and/or international seed companies. The top five of major crops are field crops, based on the highest seed turnover and total market value. Seed business for local crops is small and regarded as a niche market. For 19 countries a country profile was developed, providing an overview of the seed sector and its companies.