Indigenous seed companies in the sub-Saharan African region have proved more adept at reaching out to small-holder farmers when compared to their multinational peers, says a study launched in Nairobi on Monday.
The Access to Seeds Index 2019 study that covered east and southern African region revealed that home grown companies boosted productivity at smallholder level thanks to timely supply of certified seeds and provision of extension services.
“The index reveals that seed companies are successfully serving smallholder farmers. They stand out because they integrate these small-holders in their business model,” said Sanne Helderman, a senior researcher with the index study that is supported by Netherlands Government and Bill & Melinda Foundation.
More than 20 seed companies in east and southern Africa were evaluated during the survey which focused on critical areas like governance, transparency, marketing, research and development, intellectual property and leadership.
Kenyan-based East African Seed Company emerged the top in the survey followed by Seed Company whose headquarters are in South Africa thanks to their large network of extension workers coupled with better understanding of local crops.
“Two African seed companies at the top of the ranking is no surprise, given their deeper understanding of the region and the challenges smallholder farmers face,” Helderman said.