Slides  /  October 17, 2017

Seed Security for Food Security

Two complementary indexes provided insights on improving access to seeds for smallholder farmers during the Seed Security for Food Security Forum, a side event of the World Food Prize Conference 2017. DowDupont invited me to present the Access to Seeds Index. Below the news item that was published on the Index’ website.

“You cannot adequately address a problem without accurate measuring,” said Tim Glenn, vice president of Global Seeds for the Agriculture Division of Dow DuPont, during his opening statement at the 2017 Seed Security for Food Security Forum in Des Moines, Iowa. The forum was a side event of the Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium, which is part of the World Food Prize.

For this reason, Dow DuPont gave the floor to two complementary initiatives that are providing relevant information on improving access to seeds for smallholder farmers. Ed Mabaya presented the latest insights from The African Seed Access Index (TASAI), which measures the overall seed sector performance in African countries. Ido Verhagen, executive director of the Access to Seeds Foundation, was invited to present the findings of the 2016 Access to Seeds Index, particularly the role seed companies play in improving access to quality seed for smallholder farmers.

TASAI recently finalized assessments of the seed sector in 13 African countries: Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The findings can be found here. One of the findings Mr Mabaya highlighted was that regional seed companies are expanding their presence through strategic partnerships, subsidiaries and acquisitions, and that the participation of governments in seed production is diminishing.

Ido Verhagen echoed this point, saying, “It is precisely the role of these regional companies that the Access to Seeds Index focuses on.” The 2016 Index measured the performance of regional companies in Eastern Africa and found that they are key for providing access to quality seeds. Global peers are consistently outperformed by regional companies in areas such as breeding for local crops, programs for women farmers and reaching remote villages. As a result, the 2018 Index will cover regional seed companies in all sub-Saharan countries.

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