Seed production activities are concentrated in a few countries in Western and Central Africa, and the extent to which smallholder farmers are involved in these activities is limited. Development of quality management systems in seed production is a major area for improvement for companies headquartered in the region.
This measurement area evaluates local seed production activities in index countries, through which companies can increase the availability of quality seed while advancing the local seed sector.
Seed production activities in the region are concentrated in Nigeria (six companies) followed by Burkina Faso (five), Senegal (four) and Mali (three). However, smallholder farmer involvement in these activities is limited. Seven regional companies involve a total of around 7,500 smallholder farmers in seed production.
All regionally headquartered companies have seed production activities in their home country, including Faso Kaba, Maslaha Seeds, Premier Seed and Value Seeds. They also have a commitment to produce seed locally.
Global companies Corteva Agriscience, East-West Seed and Syngenta do not report having any seed production locations in the region. Monsanto reports producing maize seed in Burkina Faso. Seed Co and Technisem have four seed production locations each in Western and Central Africa, and both the companies report to involve smallholder farmers in only two of these countries.
No seed production activities were reported in Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mauritania, Togo, Sierra Leone or The Gambia.
While seven companies have a commitment to produce seed in the region, more than half collaborate with local players such as outgrowers and cooperatives on these activities. Companies including BILOHF, Da-Allgreen Seeds, Heritage Seeds, Maslaha Seeds and Premier Seed report working with outgrowers. Premier Seed states that it has organized its outgrower scheme to produce certified seed for all its marketed crops by regularly holding meetings before the growing season. Further, the company reports that it provides technical services to the growers, and to ensure the quality of the seed, the production is carried out under strict supervision. GAWAL, Seed Co, Technisem and NAFASO report working with cooperatives to produce seed.
Value Seeds states that it collaborates with smallholder farmers as well as large-scale farms, local seed companies and farmer organizations on seed multiplication and production. Although most companies have established a network of local producers for their seed production activities, Tropicasem reports that in addition to collaborating with local players, a large proportion of its seed production is carried out by its own seed farms in the region.
Despite 19 companies reportedly producing seed in the region, development and monitoring of labor standards in seed production is an area for improvement for the large majority of the companies. Companies could improve their performance by introducing formal labor and social standards as well as monitoring systems to track compliance within their own operations as well as in their supply chains.
Companies headquartered in the region such as Da-Allgreen Seeds, Faso Kaba, Heritage Seeds, Premier Seed, Maslaha Seeds and Value Seeds indicate that quality control of their seed production is carried out by national certification agencies. A few companies such as Premier Seed and Maslaha Seeds also report having internal quality control laboratories. In general, however, the extent to which the seed produced is subjected to a quality management system and whether this aligns with international standards is unclear.
Technisem reports that it has a seed lab that is a member of the International Seed Testing Association. Similar to its Novalliance partner Tropicasem, it further states that technicians regularly visit the producers during the various phases of production to ensure seed quality before shipment.
Companies are encouraged to be more transparent about seed production quality assurance mechanisms in the region and introduce further quality management systems, subjecting seed to rigorous tests, measures and procedures in line with international certification standards, to ensure consistent quality throughout the production process.