24 February 2014
In the past few weeks KIT and Centre of Development Innovation (CDI) have conducted two missions in Tanzania and Mozambique. KIT and CDI of Wageningen University take part in the joint Integrated Seed Sector Development (ISSD) programme which aims to improve access to quality seed for small-scale farmers.
Food security: wishful thinking?
Small-scale farmers in Africa experience limited access to affordable quality seed. Without solving this issue, improving food security and stimulating income growth will remain wishful thinking. KIT has therefore made the strategic choice to work on seed sector development. The two fields trips to Mozambique and Tanzania formed the basis of two project proposals which will be submitted to the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation in Tanzania, and to the Agência de Desenvolvimento do Vale do Zambeze in Mozambique.
Holistic, demand driven approach
Both project proposals will incorporate the principles of ISSD, a holistic approach to seed sector development, based on farmers’ demand. This means that access to quality seed is improved, through the formal sector, such as international and national seed companies. Informal seed systems and their interaction are strengthened as well; farmed saved seeds, community seed production, and local seed businesses are considered important entry-points for interventions.
Actions taken in Tanzania
In Tanzania we have organized a series of zonal workshops with seed sector stakeholders to raise awareness of the need for pluralism in the seed sector; an initial analysis and the preparation for further data collection. In Tanzania we work together with zonal research and development centres and ASARECA, the regional body, which will implement the programme. Local data collection teams were trained to carry out further data collection in the weeks to come. This will provide sufficient information to formulate our project proposal to the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation.
Stakeholders in Mozambique
In Mozambique we focused on the central region of the country. We facilitated a workshop with a range of stakeholders followed by field work. The results were presented on February 14 to the Agência de Desenvolvimento do Vale do Zambeze, our client. The Agência is supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Based on the earlier seed sector assessment, which was implemented in collaboration with AgriProFocus (http://apf-mozambique.ning.com/group/sementes), we are now developing a proposal for the development of the Mozambican seed sector.
Other ISSD programmes
ISSD-programmes are currently running or set up in several African countries, in which KIT and CDI are the main partners.