Nine Projects Funded to Improve Seed Systems in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa


Photo: A man and women inspect a plant in field
Photo Credit: Tine Frank/USAID

This month, Marketlinks is exploring the enabling environment and market systems of the seed sector. This was originally posted to the Food & Business Knowlege Platform and authored by F&BKP Office

Nine projects are funded by NWO-WOTRO to strengthen the Netherlands-CGIAR research partnership on generating insights that contribute to improving seed systems in focus regions within Asia and Sub-Sahara Africa. Specific seed systems addressed are cassava, maize, groundnut, vegetables, cocoa, forage seed, tilapia, and chicken, while some projects have a more general focus on improving the functioning and inclusiveness of seed systems and (actors in) markets.

The call on “Seed Systems Development: Enabling and Scaling Genetic Improvement and Propagation Materials” was released by the Netherlands-CGIAR partnership. The nine awarded project consortia consist of Dutch research institutes, CGIAR research centers (through CGIAR research programs or platforms), and (local) partners from the public and private sector.

Aim of the research projects

The call for proposals was built on the premise that the development of the seed sector may benefit from a research collaboration between practitioners and research institutions from CGIAR, the Netherlands and selected partner countries. With the funded projects, new insights and innovative solutions should evolve from synthesizing academic expertise, farmers’ experiences, and knowledge, as well as the practical knowledge of companies and NGOs working within the seed sector and its value chains.

Specific objectives of this call were:

  • To gain insights on how to increase the contribution of high-quality ‘seed’ in improving smallholder farmers’ food and income security.
  • To identify and test how to contribute to improving availability and access of high-quality ‘seed’ for smallholder and family farms, especially sooner and at a larger scale than in current practice.
  • To identify and test how to make value chains for private and public seed and animal seed stock more efficient, sustainable and anchored in a supportive enabling environment.
  • To strengthen cooperation among CGIAR researchers affiliated to CRPs and/or Platforms, Dutch researchers and relevant (local) public and private partners.

Granted Projects

Please find below a short description of the nine projects or download this overview document with more extensive abstracts.

Integrated vegetable seed systems development in ethnic minority communities in Northern Vietnam for enhanced nutrition and income security

Main applicant: Dr S. De Haan (International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT))
Co-applicants: Dr. T.J. Stomph (Wageningen University and Research), J.E. Raneri (Bioversity International), Dr. T.H. Ngo (Fruit & Vegetable Research Institute (FAVRI)), T. Nguyen Dinh (Vinaseed), T. Le Van (Tan Loc Phat), Van Khoi Le (Vietnam Farmers Union)

This project aims to address issues related to vegetable smallholder seed systems in Northern Vietnam. Issues mentioned in the proposal are identified as inadequate access to quality seed of exogenous and indigenous vegetable varieties of desirable uniformity, health, and physiological properties, and traits such as disease resistance, micronutrient density, and consumer characters.

Promoting stress-tolerant varieties at scale: Interlinking the private seed sector and insurance advisory services in Kenya

Main applicant: Dr B. Kramer (International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI))
Co-applicants: Dr. B. Kivuva (Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO)), Dr. R. Lensink (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen), Dr. F. Cecchi (Wageningen University & Research), R. Kariuki (Agriculture and Climate Risk Enterprise Ltd. (ACRE Africa))

This project aims to investigate how different types of market actors in high-quality seed systems can promote their clients’ adaptive capacity by interlinking stress-tolerant varieties with innovative financial and advisory services that help resolve key barriers to adoption, targeting particularly female farmers and youths in Kenya. 

Accelerating aquaculture development in Ghana through sustainable Nile Tilapia seed production and dissemination

Main applicant: Dr C.R. Ragasa (International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI))
Co-applicants: Dr. J. Newton (Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen (KIT)), Dr. S.K. Agyakwah (CSIR-Water Research Institute), M. Oyih MSc (Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MOFAD)), Dr. N. Tran (ICLARM (WorldFish)), I. Akortia (S-HOINT Limited), P. Safo MSc (Crystal Lake Fish Limited)

This project aims to build on the successes in Ghana’s tilapia cage culture and to accelerate tilapia development through testing interventions to improve the seed system for small-scale cage and pond farmers.

Enabling agribusiness development for scaling quality cassava seed systems for control of major viral diseases in Rwanda and Burundi

Main Applicant: Dr S. Tumwegamire (International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA))
Co-applicants: Dr. M. Schut (Wageningen University & Research), Ir. drs. M. Paauwe (Spark)
This project aims to engage in testing, evaluating and upscaling end-user-preferred cassava varieties with strong resistance to Cassava Brown Streak Disease (CBSD) and Cassava Mosaic Diseases (CMD) through different types of cassava agribusiness seed systems (CASS) models in Rwanda and Burundi.

Policy and regulatory reform options for seed market development: Expanding the empirical evidence base in Uganda

Main applicant: Dr R.A. Sparrow (Wageningen University and Research (WUR))
Co-applicants: G. Otim (Wageningen University & Research), Dr. D.J. Spielman (IFPRI-Washington), Prof. dr. ir. E. Bulte (Wageningen University & Research), Dr. F. Bagamba (Makerere University), Ir. drs. R.P. Ntakyo (National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO)), Dr. B. Van Campenhout (IFPRI-Washington), Ir. drs. A. Mastenbroek (Wageningen University & Research Centre for Development Innovation (WCDI))

This project aims to improve the functioning, integration, and inclusiveness of seed systems and markets in Uganda by strengthening links between the regulatory framework, seed providers, and seed users across multiple dimensions.

Feed and forage seed business models to support further professionalization of the dairy sector in Kenya and Uganda

Main Applicant: Dr P.R. Gildemacher (Royal Tropical Institute (KIT))
Co-applicants: D.G. Steyn (Barenbrug South Africa), Dr. C. Wasonga (Advantage Crops Limited), Dr. M. Peters (International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)), B. Lukuyu PhD (International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)), Dr. W.N. Nanyeenya (National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) – National Livestock Resources Research Institute (NaLIRRI))

The aim of this project is to develop viable business models for forage seed production and marketing that assure economically sustainable access to high-quality forage seed to diverse clients in Kenya and Uganda.

Women in business: chicken seed dissemination in Ethiopia and Tanzania

Main applicant: Dr A. Omore (International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI))
Co-applicants: Dr. J. Newton (Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen (KIT)), Dr. S. Abegaz Kebede (Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR)), Dr. E. Goromela (Tanzania Livestock Research Institute (TALRI)), Dr. J. Kaijage (Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries), Dr. T. Fseha (Ethiochicken), H. Njakoi (AKM Glitters)

This project aims to develop, promote and test women-led chicken businesses in Ethiopia and Tanzania with the goal of promoting the economic empowerment of young women, and also of improving the food and nutrition security of their households.

Upscaling improved groundnut varieties through integrated seed systems for improving income and nutrition in dryland of Ghana and Mali

Main applicant: Dr H. Affognon (International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT))
Co-applicants: Dr. D. Sako (Institute D’Economie Rurale (IER)), Dr. D.K. Puozaa (CSIR-Savanna Agricultural Research Institute), Dr. P. R. Gildemacher (Royal Tropical Institute (KIT)), Dr. K. Traoré (Société de production de Semences Améliorées (SOPROSA-SARL)), Z. Sumani Iddrisu (Heritage Seeds Company Limited)

This project aims to sustainably improve the groundnut seed systems for the upscaling of improved groundnut varieties for improving the income and nutrition in Ghana and Mali by adopting an innovative seed systems model that integrates the formal and informal channels to enhance seed production and marketing.

CocoaTarget: Using citizen science to improve climatic and agro-ecological targeting of varietal recommendations and accelerating planting material access for cocoa farmers in Ghana

Main Applicant: Dr J. van Etten (Bioversity International)
Co-applicants: Dr. H. D. Bisseleua (World Cocoa Foundation (WCF)), Dr. A. Laven (Royal Tropical Institute (KIT)), Dr. F. Padi (Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG)), F. Appiah Amponsah (Kookoo Pa Farmers Association (Kookoo Pa))

This project aims to develop a farmer-led business model for the propagation and distribution of cocoa planting material that is more efficient and more responsive to climate change, and capable of providing rapid feedback to breeders in Ghana. The proposal attempts to achieve this based on citizen science, using the tricot approach that has been tested in cereals and legumes and is for the first time being tested in a perennial tree crop.