The long tail of the seed industry
This blog by Bayer Crop Science discusses the importance of smaller regional seed companies in the delivery and adoption of new technologies to smallholder farmers. Within the seed industry there is a small group of big global players and a long tail of smaller regional, national and niche players. This first group of market leaders receive the most attention. Still, as the author argues, the relevance of the companies in the long tail of the seed industry should not be overlooked. For instance, in the delivery and adoption of new traits and seed varieties to smallholder farmers collectively dominating the regions that are facing food and nutrition security challenges, these companies play a key role. On several aspects, such as reaching remote villages, collaborating with local farmer communities to inform their R&D decisions or capacity building activities, they can take it a step further than their global peers. Although some regional companies have their own breeding programs, they are often not the developers of new technologies and germplasm for many crops. Instead, they in-license or buy the technologies from public research institutes or bigger seed companies for further development, testing it for local suitability and introduction to the market. Through their knowledge of the local market and a strong customer base, they know what farmers want in a certain region, and put the right seed products in the right place.