Summary of results:
NASECO ranks fifth in the Regional Index, its position driven by strong performance in Governance & Strategy, Research & Development and Marketing & Sales. NASECO’s customer base consists almost entirely of smallholder farmers, contributing to a strong link between the company’s R&D activities and the needs of smallholder farmers. However, the company is encouraged to improve the transparency of its activities across all measurement areas and to expand the geographic scope of these activities.
Operations in Scope
- Countries in Scope
- Company Presence
- Production Locations
- Breeding Station/R&D
NASECO’s breeding programs focus on traits suitable for smallholder farmers. Besides breeding for increased yields and abiotic stress tolerance and resistance to pests and diseases, the company also breeds for increased pro-vitamin A content in yellow maize and culinary preferences such as milling, poundability and cooking time.
The company engages in collaborative research through partnerships with local research institutes. It is also involved in participatory breeding or variety selection with smallholder farmers in Burundi and Uganda, two of the four Regional Index countries where it sells seeds.
The company accommodates the differing capacity levels of smallholder farmers by offering OPV maize seeds, which account for 50% of its maize varieties, and different seed grades. All varieties offered by the company are available for hand-planting.
The company sells seed packages tailored to smallholder farmers’ needs, including 250g (sold in Burundi) and 2kg, 5kg and 15kg (sold in Uganda). The packaging features illustrations and instructions in English, French and Swahili. Brochures in local languages and with pictures are also available.
The company trains farmer groups and producer organizations in seed production in partnership with projects funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Uganda and Burundi.
Index Crops in Portfolio
|Global Field Crops|
|Local Vegetable Crops|
Areas for Improvement
NASECO can improve its transparency by publically disclosing more information about its programs related to access to seeds for smallholder farmers.
The company was part of the harmonization process of the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA). It has been involved in various working groups and states that it actively contributes to these groups by advocating a harmonized seed movement. It could use this experience to represent smallholder farmers’ interests in international forums and policymaking processes.
The company could consider expanding its activities related to affordability, packaging and training for smallholder farmers to all of the Regional Index countries where it is active.
Ninety-five percent of NASECO’s customer base is made up of smallholder farmers, which the company defines as farmers with 5-10 acres of land, not necessarily their own. Most of these customers are located in Burundi and Uganda. Smallholder farmers are integrated into the company’s strategy as demonstrated by its tailored packaging and R&D activities, with a focus on low-input management, late weeding, droughts and floods.
NASECO has donated MLN-tolerant/resistant lines to CIMMYT, a non-profit international agricultural research organization that focuses on wheat and maize farmers in developing countries, and to the National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCCRI) in Uganda.
The company markets varieties developed by local, national and international research institutes, including maize, soybean, rice, beans and sorghum, covering more than half of the Index crops in its portfolio.
The company has distribution channels in Burundi and Uganda and employs extension agents to link farmers to input markets and assure the availability of seeds. It reaches remote areas and has an internal target to supply seeds to within a 10km radius of farmers in these areas.
The company gives lectures at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and offers internships to national and international students. It has partnered with the NGO CLUSA on a project that aims to train and mentor 60,000 farmers, with a focus on young farmers in Uganda.
The company offers reduced prices and free delivery of its products to farmer groups. It also provides seasons-long interest-free loans for inputs and financial assistance to smallholder farmers in Uganda.