Options for national governments to support smallholder farmer seed systems: The cases of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda
This publication (PDF) by Hivos and Bioversity International examines how current seed policies and laws in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda affect smallholder farmers’ practices. The investigation is based on three measures: the degree of recognition of the roles and rights of smallholder farmers related to seed management; the degree to which policy and legal regulations facilitate smallholder-based seed management; and the level of support (moral, technical, and financial) such regulations provide for smallholder-based seed management. Together, these measures can be seen as a reflection of the degree of openness of a seed system. In all three countries governments are strengthening seed regulatory systems, mainly toward the more restrictive end of the scale. However, smallholder farmers are far more affected by low levels of recognition and support for their seed management practices than by restrictive policies and laws. Supportive policies and legal measures have been suggested recently, but a strong supportive policy and legal environment is missing. Tentatively, it seems that to create more open seed systems, efforts should not only be aimed at less strict regulatory measures, but also at designing and lobbying for measures that lead to more recognition of and support for the seed systems of smallholder farmers. Such measures should also ensure that civil society organizations play a key role in implementation of policies and laws.