Improved seed varieties that are more resistant to heat, drought, and pests and disease can help farmers increase their crop yields and adapt to the effects of climate change. However, smallholder farmers often do not use improved seeds, because of prohibitively high costs, a lack of access to seed dealers, or a lack of information about the benefits of improved varieties.
To examine how global and regional seed companies are working to address these constraints, the Access to Seeds Foundation has released its first Access to Seeds Index, focusing on four regions that were identified as having food security challenges, strong smallholder presence, and agricultural potential: Latin America, western Africa, eastern Africa, and South and Southeast Asia. The report finds that at the global level, seed companies are active in most countries in these regions, with the exception of western Africa. Regionally, the report focuses on eastern Africa and finds that regional companies are having some success in filling the gaps left by global suppliers. These findings make it clear that there has been strong private sector commitment to making improved seed varieties more affordable, accessible, and well understood in developing countries; however, important gaps still remain.
Read on: AG Professional