The seed sector in South Sudan is currently dominated by seed aid. The A3-Seed project seeks to reduce the country’s dependancy on foreign-sourced seeds, and humanitarian support, with the aim to transform the seed sector into a commercially viable one.
“The yield was not good”
As part of the project, we recently held an event connecting the seed companies with the farmers the project is supporting. And at the event one of the farmers, Marko Gifridi, said “I used to get seeds from the local NGOs, but unfortunately the seeds are being imported from outside. The yield is not good, while others don’t germinate.”
This was also one of the findings from a study we conducted of around 2000 farmers. We found that many farmers are unable to source quality seeds for their farms, and either rely on seed-aid or on reusing seeds from earlier harvests. This affects the yields and food production of these farmers.
According to Nicola Francesconi, Senior Advisor at KIT, one of the problems is that “The seeds are not brought to the farmers at the right time, not when they are ready to plant. And this creates a lot of inefficiencies.”
But a more efficient local private seed sector that caters to local needs can be created. This would require an improvement in seed breeding, multiplication and marketing of selected local private seed companies through training; by strengthening the connections between seed suppliers, seed companies, and seed buyers.
As a country, we need to reposition agriculture to where it belongs – that is, at the center of our economic activity. Agriculture must become the engine of economic development…Honorable Josephine Lagu
South Sudan’s Minister of Agriculture
From seed aid to seed market
In order to expand on The Dutch Embassy’s seed sector and agribusiness interventions in South Sudan, A3-SEED aims to develop the national seed sector and transform it into a commercially viable sector. The mandate of A3-SEED is to ensure the availability of improved seed down to the last mile, by providing technical and financial support to existing private-sector seed companies. Access to quality seeds will also improve food security.
A3-SEED has a budget of €8.5 million, including a €1 million intervention fund (to support the development of, and incentivize inclusive outreach by private-sector seed companies).
We want to improve the seeds. We want to add value to the products the farmers are creating.Nelson Barnaba
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Environment, Western Equatorial States (W.E.S)
Furthermore, as the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to South Sudan, Michiel Smet emphasised, at the launch, South Sudan’s current status of peace primes the A3-SEED project for success.
Within the project, KIT provides technical assistance to IFDC to manage (enhance) the project’s impact creation process and ensure that the project ultimately contributes toward improved agricultural practices, productivity, food security, and rural poverty.
- 10 private seed companies will increase their business turn-over, productive assets and human resources.
- More than 100,000 farming households will increase their agricultural productivity and income through the adoption of improved seeds and farming practices.
- And 50% of seed-aid will be procured locally by humanitarian agencies, from private seed companies, through the Seed Trade Association of South Sudan (STASS).