About the Index

A billion people go to bed hungry every day, two billion suffer from malnutrition. And the global population is expected to grow by a further two billion in the coming decades, precisely in those regions – sub-Saharan Africa, South and Southeast Asia and parts of Latin America – that are currently considered food insecure.

Agriculture in these regions is dominated by small-scale agriculture, with farms of around two soccer fields. Improving productivity of these smallholder farmers is vital to meet future food demands. With their strengths in breeding and delivery, seed companies can contribute to improving access to seeds for smallholders, enabling them to increase yields, improve nutritional quality and cope with climate change. However, currently only 2,5% of the seed used by smallholders in sub-Saharan Africa now comes from seed companies.

The Access to Seeds Index evaluates how the seed industry is bridging the gap with the smallholder farmer. It focuses on seven global leaders in field crops (such as maize, rice and wheat), ten global leaders in vegetable seed and zooms in on 17 leading seed companies in Eastern Africa. It aims to provide an evidence base to the conversation on where and how seed companies can step up their efforts.