East African Seed

East African Seed Co. Ltd (East African Seed) supplies agricultural chemicals and equipment, ornamental seeds and a wide range of global field crop and vegetable seeds. The company was established in 1972 in Kenya and today has sales and breeding locations throughout Eastern Africa. The agrochemical division has operated under the Agriscope brand since 2003.

 

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Regional Index

Eastern Africa

Summary of results:

East African Seed ranks third in the Regional Index, a position it owes primarily to activities and programs supporting access to seeds and smallholder farmers. The company has developed a strategy and supporting governance structure that prioritizes access to seeds for smallholder farmers. It also makes a strong effort to accommodate the needs of smallholders in its marketing & sales practices, whether by providing a range of seed package sizes and distributing in remote areas or ensuring the affordability of its seeds. Finally, the company engages in public policy and industry activities, particularly through industry associations, and attempts to represent the region’s perspective in global forums when possible. Opportunities exist for East African Seed to improve its policy commitments and public disclosure of its activities and programs across most measurement areas.

Operations in Scope
  • Countries in Scope
  • Company Presence
  • Production Locations
  • Breeding Station/R&D
Leading Practices

    East African Seed has extensive R&D programs that include developing improved varieties for nearly all of the local crops it markets (five out of six), and investing a large part of its R&D budget in developing varieties suitable for smallholder farmers. The company breeds for traits that are tailored to the needs of smallholder farmers, including resistance to pests and diseases, abiotic stress tolerance and high yields, and takes into account specific local tastes and cultural preferences.

    East African Seed provides price lists to its distributors (including the sale price to farmers), and supplies seeds through NGOs or government programs, thereby cutting out the middlemen and ensuring the affordability of its seeds.

    The company supports local seed production, producing in three countries – Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda – in the Index region. Seventy percent of its seeds are produced by smallholders.

Index Crops in Portfolio
Sales Breeding Focus
BDI ETH KEN MDG MWI MOZ RWD SSD TZA UGA ZMB ZWE Broad
Adaptation
Hight
Altitude
Mid
Altitude
Low
Altitude
Global Field Crops
Beans, dry
Maize
Rice, paddy
Sorghum
Soybean
Global Vegetable Crops
Broccoli
Cabbage
Carrot
Cauliflower
Chili pepper
Cucumber
Eggplant
Gourd
Green pea
Leek
Lettuce
Melon
Okra
Onion
Pumpkin
Spinach
Squash
Sweet pepper
Tomato
Turnip
Watermelon
Local Field Crops
Cowpea
Local Vegetable Crops
Amaranth
Black nightshade
Crotalaria
Jew's mallow
Spider plant
Areas for Improvement

    East African Seed could expand its knowledge-gathering and feedback programs beyond Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, to include smallholder farmers in all the countries where it is active.

    The company complies with all national labor laws for its seed production activities. However, it could additionally consider establishing a set of minimum social standards and applying these across its production processes.

Notable Findings

    East African Seed is involved in several industry associations at the national and regional level, and has leveraged its leadership role in these associations to promote the regional perspective globally.

    The company engages in some public policy and multi-stakeholder activities related to access to seeds. For example, it successfully lobbied for agricultural inputs in Uganda to be exempt from value-added tax, and has similar ongoing lobbying activities in Kenya. The company also partnered with the African Agricultural Technology Foundation on the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) project.

    The company accommodates the needs of smallholder farmers in its marketing & sales practices: it offers a variety of seed package sizes; it markets open-pollinated varieties (OPVs) for maize, sorghum, sesame, cowpea, dry beans, soybean and green grams (mung beans) in Regional Index countries; and its distribution channels service remote areas.

    It has a robust marketing & sales program, marketing all the crops in its portfolio in all the countries where it is active, and helping to market varieties developed by national and international research institutes.

    It promotes the use of ICT and publishes and distributes flyers, posters and guides for farmers on crop production technologies in all Regional Index countries where it is active. A website provides additional crop information.

    The company participates in agricultural exhibitions organized by universities and government agencies in three countries where it is active. It also organizes demonstrations in schools and trains young farmers on crop management practices.

    The company has a robust quality assurance system. It makes an effort to ensure the affordability of its seeds, and has put in place a system for collecting feedback and addressing farmer grievances.