The Access to Seeds Index assesses, scores and ranks seed companies according to their efforts to improve access to quality seeds of improved varieties for smallholder farmers. The Index seeks primarily to identify leadership and good practices, providing an evidence base for the discussion on where and how the seed industry can step up its efforts. As a benchmarking tool, the Index aims to incentivize seed companies to improve their performance.

Concerns about feeding the growing world population triggered the development of the Access to Seeds Index. Hunger is a daily reality for almost one billion people around the world. The global population is expected to grow by a further two billion in the coming decades, precisely in those regions that are currently considered food insecure. Improving access to seeds for farmers in those regions is key to meeting future food demands. The seed industry can play a crucial role in this.

Based on how important stakeholder groups – farmers, governments, scientists, NGOs and the seed industry itself – view the role and responsibility of the seed industry, a methodology was developed with clearly defined criteria. The Index is produced in a two-year ‘Index cycle’. In the first year the methodology is developed or revised; in the second year the Index is developed and published. After publication of an Index the cycle starts again. Using this iterative approach, the Index aims to monitor progress over time.