Last updated: March 2019
  • Region Eastern and Southern Africa
  • UPOV Membership status UPOV Membership status Member of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO); initiated the procedure for acceding to the UPOV Convention
  • Participation in OECD Seed Schemes No
  • ISTA accredited member laboratories No
  • GM crop approval for cultivation No
  • Law on Plant Variety Protection No
Seed sector in Somalia

Somalia has been plagued with civil unrest since 1991. This has led to the breakdown of various productive sectors, including agriculture. Government-established seed systems have been severely hit by the unrest along with droughts in the larger Horn of Africa region. Relief agencies and development organizations are committing resources to reactivate the agriculture sector, and part of these efforts is directed toward reviving seed systems.

The country has no seed policy, law or regulation in place, nor are seed imports subjected to any inspections for quality and phytosanitary checks.

Somali seed systems are predominantly informal. Farmers use farm-saved seeds for most of their field and local crops—mainly maize, sorghum, cowpea and rice. There are different local varieties and landraces of maize, sorghum and cowpea in various parts of the country, and these are uniquely adapted to drought. Rice varieties grown in the river basins of Shabelle and Juba in southern Somalia were obtained from international research organizations during the pre-war period, and farmers have maintained them through on-farm seed regeneration.


Only three index companies are in Somalia, among the lowest levels of representations across all four index regions

One of them is Darusalam Seed Company, which is headquartered in Somalia. The company does not have its own breeding program, instead relying on licensed parent material from other seed companies. However, it does fulfill all other activities in the seed value chain—the only company in Somalia to do so. The other two companies, East African Seed and Pop Vriend Seeds only sell vegetable varieties, which makes Darusalam Seed Company’s portfolio of field crops, such as cowpea, maize, sesame and sorghum, particularly valuable.

Furthermore, only Darusalam Seed Company caters to smallholders with extension services, and even then it reached just 60 farmers because of its low capacity.

Index company activities identified in Somalia
Company Crops in portfolio Company activities in country
Companies selected for
the Access to Seeds Index
Vegetables Breeding
Sales Extension
Darusalam Seed Company  **  *
East African Seed
Pop Vriend Seeds
  • * Company involves smallholder farmers in seed production activities
  • ** Company headquartered in Somalia

Other companies identified in the regional landscaping study and their activities

Company Crops in portfolio Company activities in country
Barwaaqo General Trading Co.
Filsan Somalia
Ikow Agrovit
Ikow Agritrade