On September 21, alongside the UN Food systems summit, we launched the first regional results of 32 companies in Western and Central Africa. Then, on October 15, we launched the results of 32 companies in Eastern and Southern Africa, which coincided with the 2021 World Food Day celebration. Finally, on November 22, we launched the results of 31 companies in South and South-East Asia at the Asia Pacific Seed Association’s technical session.
Remember why this is important.
Smallholder farmers are the main food producers in lower-income countries, and their access to good quality seeds of improved varieties is essential for ensuring that people in these regions have sufficient, safe, and nutritious food. Ultimately, the index evaluates seed companies’ contributions to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 2: Zero Hunger. Seed companies play a key role in ensuring this access.
The main take-aways?
- Presence: Seed companies are active in almost all index countries across Sub-Saharan Africa and South and South-East Asia but can extend their reach to remote areas.
- Crop diversification: Many companies are providing more diverse portfolios for vegetables and field crops but need to offer more pulses to help tackle malnutrition
- Extension services: Companies are offering extension services in more countries than in 2019 and leveraged ICT tools to reach smallholder farmers as an impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on traditional field training.
- Local seed sector development: Companies are still only concentrating their investments in developing local seed sectors such as seed production, breeding programs and processing in a few countries. This approach leaves behind many smallholders in many countries who can benefit from a developed local seed sector. Therefore, it’s crucial for the seed industry to collaborate with research institutes, investors, civil society, and governments in industry growth in more countries to strengthen capabilities and means to reach more farmers in all regions.
Lots of data to dig into. And comments always welcome.
- Full disclosure: I’m on the Expert Review Committee. [↩]