East-West Seed

East-West Seed Company Ltd (East-West Seed) was founded in 1982 in the Philippines with a mission to improve the income of farmers through high-quality vegetable seeds. It led the 2016 Access to Seeds Global Index for vegetable seed companies as well as the Regional Index for Eastern Africa. East-West Seed’s main clientele globally are smallholder farmers. Its portfolio contains over 900 hybrid and open-pollinated varieties. Now headquartered in Thailand, East-West Seed has about 5,000 employees.

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Western and Central Africa

Summary of results:

East-West Seed ranks third in the 2019 Index for Western and Central Africa. A relative newcomer to the region, the company’s strengths lie in its policies relating to Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, as well as its Marketing & Sales activities. In Marketing & Sales, the company offers agricultural inputs and demonstrates robust quality assurance mechanisms. In Intellectual Property, it does not impede the rights of breeders or farmers through contractual clauses or other mechanisms that impact innovation or smallholder farmer livelihoods. The company has a breeding station in Benin, where it develops improved varieties of local crops. It performs relatively poorly in Seed Production, as it does not produce seed in the region. There is also room for improvement in Capacity Building, particularly regarding next-generation farmers, programs for women smallholder farmers and access to output markets.

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Operations in Scope
  • Countries in Scope
  • Company Presence
  • Production Locations
  • Breeding Station/R&D
Index Crops in Portfolio
Sales Seed type Source
ben bfa cmr caf civ cod gab gha mli mrt ner nga cog sen gmb tgo Hybrid OPV GM Own
from other
Green Bean
Pepper (hot)
Pepper (sweet)
Local Crops in Portfolio
  • Amaranth
  • African eggplant
  • Celosia
  • Jew's mallow
Leading Practices

    East-West Seed has a distribution network in 16 countries that also reaches remote areas. This is one of the widest distribution networks in the index.

Areas for Improvement

    East-West Seed can improve its ranking by extending its commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and linking its business activities to specific SDGs, as well as setting measurable targets and specifically tailoring these to Western and Central Africa.

    With extensive capacity building programs in other regions and reported plans to scale these up, the company is encouraged to leverage this knowledge and experience in Western and Central Africa.

    The company has initiated a breeding program in Benin, with a focus on developing improved varieties of local crops. Building on its experience elsewhere, and given its regional growth plans, the company is encouraged to broaden its breeding activities in Western and Central Africa.

Notable Findings

    In 2017, East-West Seed partnered with Tikola Ghana Ltd, its sole distributor in Ghana, to initiate a model farm project that teaches vegetable farmers good agricultural practices and how to get the most out of high-quality hybrid seed. The project has reached 1,500 farmers through ten strategically located demonstration farms. The project is supported by the Dutch government through the GhanaVeg Business Opportunity Fund.

    The company’s code of business conduct, called ‘7 essentials’, addresses various topics, including anti-corruption and social and labor standards. It contains an online quiz with real-life case studies to test employees’ knowledge of the code.

    The company recognizes the breeders’ exemption on its PVP-registered varieties, and the farmers’ right to save, use, sow, re-sow, exchange, share and sell farm produce, including seed of a protected variety under the Plant Variety Protection Act. It only restricts farmers from selling branded seed of the protected variety for commercial purposes.

    The company has a breeding program for local crops in Benin.

    The company trains its product distributors in Benin, Nigeria, Ghana, Mali and Côte d’Ivoire, enabling them to instruct their smallholder customers on the sustainable use of agro-inputs.

    Through the company’s Simon Groot Agriculture Scholarship, scholarships were given to farmers’ children in Nigeria in 2017, equipping them with scientific and practical agricultural knowledge. Through the scholarships, the company aims to encourage these young farmers to carry on farming and establish thriving businesses and a sustainable source of livelihood to their communities.

    The company’s foundation, Knowledge Transfer, is in charge of most extension services and capacity building activities, particularly in pre-commercial areas outside Western and Central Africa. The company however reports that these activities have just expanded to Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire.