To create a good understanding of the seed challenges on the ground, the Access to Seeds team organized field trips in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya. Farmers, Farmers’ cooperatives, seed companies and government officials were visited to gather input for the Index methodology.
Yesahab Ashale (Self Help Africa) and Fasil Kelemawork (Farmers cooperative in Butajira), introduced their seed production activities and showed their facilities. Tewolde Kiflemariam (Meki Batu, Seed Growers Cooperation) explained the important role of cooperatives in Ethiopia and the limited reach of quality seeds to smallholder farmers. According to him, both farmers and companies would benefit from direct contact.
Jan van der Haar (Solagrow) explained how he started a potato seed producing company and introduced quality seed varieties in Ethiopia. Shoshan Haran (Fair Planet Seeds) showed her field where varieties from leading seed companies are tested to introduce them into the Ethiopian market. Mr. Ayenau from DuPont Pioneer Ethiopia showed the team a hybrid maize seed production site. Here, DuPont Pioneer tests and produces Maize varieties for local Ethiopian markets.
Ignace Nyiringabo (CEO) explained how his seed company, Win Win Agri-tech, is creating reliable distribution channels in Rwanda to the smallholder farmer. These channels can also be used by international seed companies. In Uganda, testing fields of Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) were visited.
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