Vegetable seed availability and implications for developing countries: A perspective from Morocco
This paper (PDF), published in the Outlook on Agriculture journal, provides an overview and analysis of vegetable seed industries in developing countries, with a focus on Morocco, and the resulting influences on smaller subsistence farmers. Vegetables play a very important role not only in providing the fibre and essential nutrients required for maintaining a well balanced diet in developing countries, but also for revenue generation from multiple domestic and international markets. New vegetable variety development is generally non-existent in most developing countries, with seed typically sourced from developed countries. This situation results in a dependence on developed countries to supply vegetable seed for most of the world’s demands. This dependence is troubling as it creates a myriad of problems, from improper recommendations of vegetable varieties to products growing in areas to which they are not necessarily adapted. The three types of vegetable seed materials (landraces, pure- line inbred and hybrid varieties) are discussed in the context of smaller farmers. The ongoing problems and issues related to the absence of vegetable seed industries in developing countries will undoubtedly affect food production, nutritional health and the resulting food security in these countries for future generations.