More than half of the global seed companies are committed to sustainable intensification and improved access to seeds for smallholder farmers in Index countries. However, the majority of these commitments lack tangible targets, limiting accountability. Syngenta, second in the overall ranking for global field crop companies, has set the most ambitious target, reaching 20 million smallholders by 2020. The indicators used to evaluate company performance are based on the expectations of stakeholders in and around the seed industry.
Access to the seed industry’s products begins for smallholder farmers with seed companies being present in the countries where they farm. The global seed industry has become active in Latin America, Eastern Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia. Only Western Africa lags significantly behind, with six out of 14 countries
not served at all.
DuPont Pioneer outperforms its peers with a strong breeding program aimed at developing varieties that are suitable for regions with many smallholder farmers. The company is closely followed by Syngenta and Bayer
The company stands out with a business model that specifically focuses on the needs of smallholder farmers, showing that working for these farmers provides a viable business case in the process. East-West Seed also leads the ranking for seed companies in Eastern Africa.
In the Regional Index for Eastern Africa, East-West Seed is followed by a group of companies with strong roots in the region: Victoria Seeds, East African Seed, Kenya Seed Company and NASECO. The findings demonstrate that regional companies play a vital role in providing access to seeds. They do so by addressing issues largely ignored by global peers such as breeding for local crops, addressing needs of women farmers and reaching remote villages.