Nankosem was founded in 1991 and is headquartered in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. The company specializes in the production, import and distribution of vegetable seeds and other agricultural products. The company has 13 stores nationwide and seed production and research stations to complement these activities. The company is a member of Novalliance, a group of seed companies set up by the CEO of fellow index company Technisem in 2015. Alliance collaborations include activities related to breeding, seed production, sales and capacity building. Smallholder farmers represent 100% of Nankosem’s clientele.

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Western and Central Africa

Summary of results:

Nankosem ranks ninth in the 2019 Index for Western and Central Africa, reflective of consistent scores across all measurement areas. Through Novalliance, Nankosem scores strongly on its commitments to smallholder farmers in Governance & Strategy. The company also engages smallholder farmers in Seed Production and formalizes these relationships with contracts, for which it gains credit. The company scores best in Marketing & Sales, where it combines robust distribution channels to remote areas in Burkina Faso with field days and demonstrations with a focus on smallholder farmers. The company provides agronomic training to smallholder farmers but does not incorporate information and communications technology or output market schemes or have specific programs for women and young farmers, resulting in a lower score in Capacity Building. The company discloses limited information and activities in relation to Genetic Resources, its lowest scoring area.

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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
bfa Hybrid OPV GM Own
from other
Green bean
Pepper (hot)
Pepper (sweet)
Local Crops in Portfolio
  • African eggplant
  • African hot pepper
  • Amaranth
  • Brede mafane
  • Celosia
  • Jew's mallow
  • Roselle
  • Spider plant
  • Yardlong bean
Leading Practices

    Nankosem engages a notable number of local producers in seed production. In 2017-18, this included 94 eggplant seed producers, 104 for okra and 248 for green beans. In total, the company engages 446 smallholder farmers in these activities.

Areas for Improvement

    Nankosem is encouraged to publicly disclose the full scope of its access to seeds-related activities in Burkina Faso.

    Regarding genetic resources, the company, potentially through Novalliance, could improve alignment with international treaties, and increase integration and collaboration with other national and international partners, with the aim of contributing to the conservation and use of genetic resources.

    The company reports complying with social norms relating to forced labor, minimum wages, and health and safety. It is encouraged to formalize these commitments with a transparent code of business conduct related to its seed production activities and introduce a robust monitoring mechanism.

Notable Findings

    Novalliance, of which Nankosem is a member, has an objective to establish a distribution network of 200 stores across Western and Central Africa, as part of its mission to improve access to seeds for smallholder farmers.

    The company has contributed to local seed sector development in Burkina Faso by establishing a network of seed producers in the Sourou region and set up programs to enhance their productivity.

    The company employs technical agents and organizes farm visits to gather feedback from smallholder farmers, in turn incorporating farmer preferences and needs into its research activities. The company reports specifically considering women smallholder farmers within these activities, as they constitute an important customer group.

    The company has a commitment not to sell outof-date seed. To achieve this, it combines quality assurance with strict inventory management. The company also takes steps to tackle counterfeit seed, albeit in a reactive rather than proactive way, by addressing issues when they arise, such as taking legal action against counterfeit seed sellers.

    The company invests heavily in field days and uses these events to provide samples to smallholder farmers to test new varieties. It also uses ‘guided tours’, whereby field agents collectively provide lessons to smallholder producers on good agricultural practices.
    Nankosem conducted 134 guided tours in 2017.

    The company uses nursery plots to provide agronomic training to smallholder farmers, including disseminating specialized crop and phytosanitary guides.

    The company uses radio adverts, including in the local languages Mooré and Dioula, to promote its products and reach farmers in remote areas.