Seeds for Africa

 

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Copyright: Mikkel Ostergaard / Panos

Africa told to improve informal seed sector

Speed read

  • Africa’s informal sector provides 80 per cent of seeds for smallholders
  • But experts have called for a need to address challenges in the informal sector
  • They propose solutions such as increased funding and focusing on neglected crops

Africa’s informal seed sector has been neglected for a long time despite providing 80 per cent of seeds that smallholder farmers use, a conference has heard.

According to experts who attended the Integrated Seed Sector Development (ISSD) Africa Synthesis Conference in Kenya last week (19-20 September), developing the formal and informal seed sectors could significantly help the continent increase agricultural productivity and improve livelihoods.

The experts said that creating innovations to overcome the challenges of the seed sector and a vibrant seed industry could also help Africa improvefood and nutrition security.

“Any program that does not address the challenges of the seed sector will not help Africa realise sustainable agricultural development.”

Miltone Ayieko, ISSD

“Any [agricultural] program that does not address the challenges of the seed sector will not help Africa realise sustainable agricultural development,” says Miltone Ayieko, regional coordinator for ISSD Africa project.

Ayieko says that it is time African agricultural stakeholders includinggovernments and scientists took action to address many challenges facing the seed sector on the continent.

“We have to act now to ensure that smallholder farmers access superior quality seed — whether through the formal or informal sector,” Ayieko notes.

Read the full article: SciDevNet

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Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.