Ethiopian Seed Enterprise

Ethiopian Seed Enterprise was established in 1978 and has operated in its present form since 2002. The company is the largest field crop seed producer and supplier in Ethiopia. It runs six seed production and processing centers, one main and six smaller laboratories, and several other facilities. Ethiopian Seed Enterprise is state owned and is supervised by the Ministry of Agriculture.

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Regional Index

Eastern Africa

Summary of results:

Ethiopian Seed Enterprise was ­established to serve local farmers in Ethiopia, both small and large, and therefore has multiple opportunities to contribute to improving access to seeds for smallholder farmers. However, the company’s performance in the Regional Index is weak, in part due to limited disclosure, both publicly and on engagement, about it activities related to access to seeds.

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

    Ethiopian Seed Enterprise operates a central seed testing laboratory and has six smaller seed laboratories. The company also operates six seed production sites in different regions of the country, with a total area of 6,543 hectares of land under rain-fed conditions. In addition, two seed ­production sites produce seeds under irrigation.

Index Crops in Portfolio
Global Field Crops
Beans, dry
Finger millet
Rice, paddy
Local Field Crops
Areas for Improvement

    Ethiopian Seed Enterprise can improve its currently low score by disclosing formal policies and integrating access to seeds-related objectives and programs into its operations.

    Since the company is a member of several industry associations, including the African Seed Trade Association and the Ethiopian Seed Association, it is encouraged to clarify how it represents the interests of the Ethiopian seed industry in such forums and policymaking processes.

    The company collaborates with universities, research institutes and other (regional) seed enterprises to distribute seeds. It is encouraged to disclose details regarding the contributions these collaborations make to improving access to seeds for smallholder farmers.


    The company appears to contract some smallholder farmers to grow its seeds, however the full scope of these activities is unclear.

Notable Findings

    As a state-owned company, Ethiopian Seed Enterprise makes use of distribution channels facilitated by the Ministry of Agriculture, leveraging regional agricultural bureaus to reach smallholder farmers.

    Ethiopian Seed Enterprise collaborates with the multi-stakeholder program on Integrated Seed Sector Development (ISSD) in Ethiopia. ISSD aims to develop a market-oriented and pluralistic seed sector in the country, making quality seeds of improved varieties available to and affordable for a large number of farmers.

    The company offers different forms of training to farmers, development agents and contract seed growers. The company also provides counseling and guidance, and general information on seed production and processes.