Nigeria-based Value Seeds tops the rankings in new research on seed companies operating in Western and Central Africa. However, the overall picture is one of international and African seed companies falling short in delivering quality seed and new varieties to smallholder farmers. This limits the potential to address food security, nutrition and climate resilience, according to a new study by the Amsterdam-based Access to Seeds Foundation.
While there is a growing number of seed companies active in the region, both homegrown and international, less than half of the 23 companies researched conduct plant breeding in Western and Central Africa. This limits the release of new varieties adapted to the region, and explains the high number of varieties that are older than five years offered in company portfolios.
The Access to Seeds Index 2019 – Western and Central Africa ranks Value Seeds number one. Like most of the other companies from the region, it operates exclusively in its home country of Nigeria. It stands out for its maize and rice ‘value kits’, all-in-one input packages tailored for smallholders. Also, it provides capacity building activities that specifically target women and next-generation farmers. Other Nigerian companies also dominate the top half, such as Maslaha Seeds, Premier Seed, and DaAllgreen Seeds, showing the relative strength of the seed industry from Nigeria.