Seeding eastern Africa’s maize revolution in the post-structural adjustment era: a review and comparative analysis of the formal maize seed sector
This review (PDF) in the journal International Food and Agribusiness Management Review reviews and makes a comparative analysis of the maize (corn) seed sector and its evolution in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Ethiopia. Improved maize seed is instrumental to deliver an Asian-style ‘green revolution’ for Africa. Enhancing farmers’ access to and use of new maize varieties still presents a number of challenges in eastern Africa – not least due to a number of policy and institutional impediments to the development of the seed sector. The regional seed sectors also show some remarkable contrasts: they have evolved at different speeds and in different directions, driven by diverging agricultural growth opportunities and varying degrees of regulation, liberalization and restructuring. Diverging policy implementation between countries has resulted in varying degrees of market concentration and public-private sector roles. Despite the regional diversity, there are also some similarities including a proliferation of private seed companies, an increasing emphasis on hybrid maize seed and the emergence of national seed traders’ associations to help organize the increasingly complex and evolving maize seed sector. There is, however, no blue-print to maize seed sector development in the sub-region and each country would do well in being open minded in assimilating the best-practices appropriate to their respective situation. The overarching vision should be to create an enabling environment for private seed companies to evolve in order to service the diverse farmer communities for them to adopt and benefit from existing and future improved maize seed opportunities.