Seed Systems Support in Kenya: Consideration for an Integrated Seed Sector Development Approach
This article (PDF) in the Journal of Sustainable Development, reveals that the evolution of seed policies and regulatory frameworks in Kenya since independence exposes a continuous support for the formal seed sector while support given to the informal sector has merely been intended to transform it into formal. The threats of climate change and rising food prices have stirred renewed attention for seed and food security in Africa, inviting new thinking on the role of seed sector development in coping with these concerns. One conceptual framework that has gained attention is the Integrated Seed Sector Development (ISSD) approach. The ISSD approach has evolved as a response to the almost exclusive focus on formal seed systems in seed sector development programs. Instead, ISSD aims to recognize and support all the diverse seed systems that exist in a particular country. The article continues with analysing some of Kenya’s recent policy shifts in order to explore how its new seed policy and legislative framework may fit within ISSD principles, and concludes with some recommendations on how the variety of seeds systems that exists on the ground and in particular local seed systems can be supported. Notwithstanding policy change access to seed problems have continued to exist, making it necessary for alternative approaches to be considered and elaborated. As an alternative approach, ISSD offers opportunities to develop seed policies for the simultaneous and parallel development of various seeds systems that together cater for the diversity of demands related to different crops, farming systems and farmers.