Companies involve smallholder farmers in seed production within Index countries.
Findings from the 2016 Access to Seeds Index show how regional companies lead in partnering with smallholder farmers to produce quality seeds, highlighting that smallholders are producers as well as innovators. NASECO outperforms its peers in producing 90% of its seeds through farmer cooperatives, while companies like East-West Seed and East-African Seed employ smallholder farmers in 80% and 70% of seed production, respectively. Bayer also engages smallholders in its supply chain.
The recent inclusion of a Seed Production measurement area to the new Methodology is one step toward addressing how companies can do more to work with smallholders to produce seeds locally, while data collection will highlight participatory plant breeding (PPB) efforts in other measurement areas. Through involving smallholder farmers in R&D, companies can tailor portfolios that address place-based needs. While many regional companies work with smallholders in PPB – among them, Victoria Seeds, FICA Seeds and Kenya Seed Company – more pioneering examples are needed.