Improving seed systems with the Netherlands – CGIAR Research Programme


KIT Royal Tropical Institute is partnering with a coalition of Dutch research institutes, CGIAR research centers and (local) partners from the public and private sector to improve seed systems in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. The work is funded by NWO-WOTRO Science for Global Development.

Seed systems: from groundnuts and chicken seed to tilapia and cocoa

KIT’s work consists of five distinct projects under the call for ‘Seed Systems Development: Enabling and Scaling Genetic Improvement and Propagation Materials’ released by the Netherlands – CGIAR Partnership. They include:

  1. ‘Upscaling improved groundnut varieties through integrated seed systems for improving income and nutrition in dryland of Ghana and Mali’
  2. ‘CocoaTarget: Using citizen science to improve climatic and agro-ecological targeting of varietal recommendations and accelerating planting material access for cocoa farmers in Ghana
  3. ‘Feed and forage seed business models to support further professionalization of the dairy sector in Kenya and Uganda’
  4. ‘Women in business: chicken seed dissemination in Ethiopia and Tanzania’
  5. ‘Accelerating aquaculture development in Ghana through sustainable Nile Tilapia seed production and dissemination’

Aim of the Netherlands - CGIAR research projects

The five projects comprise over half of the nine projects granted by NWO-WOTRO Science for Global Development to support the Netherlands – CGIAR Research Programme. The Seed Systems call builds on the premise that development of the seed sector may benefit from 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 synthesising 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 in 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, and
  • To strengthen cooperation among CGIAR researchers affiliated to CRPs and/or Platforms, Dutch researchers and relevant (local) public and private partners.

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.