|Title||Local seed businesses in Uganda: a market-oriented approach towards community seed production|
|Source||In: Community Seed Production. - FAO - ISBN 9789251087510 - p. 98 - 104.|
|Event||Community Seed Production, Addis Ababa, 2013-12-09/2013-12-11|
|Publication type||Chapter in book aimed at a professional audience|
|Abstract||The integrated seed sector development (ISSD) programme aims to improve food security and economic development, by providing smallholder farmers with sustainable access to quality seed of superior varieties. The specific objective of the programme is to create a vibrant, pluralistic and market-oriented seed sector in Uganda.
The ISSD programme in Uganda focuses on establishing functional, commercially sustainable local seed businesses (LSB), and on helping public sector organizations provide efficient and effective services to seed sector operators at national and local level. The programme works with 30 LSBs in three geographical areas in Uganda. The first year of intervention, 2013, concentrated on markets, marketing, quality seed production and access to inputs and services (mainly foundation seed). In the first season of 2013 (2013A), 16 local seed businesses were able to procure input2 seed for 196 hectares. In the second season, 2013B, the planted area increased to 287 hectares, and the number of groups that purchased input seed increased to 23 groups. The shortage and high cost of foundation seed at the national agricultural research institutes are hampering the expansion of acreage planted. However, institutional buyers, such as the National Agricultural Advisory Development Services (NAADS), as well as farmers, have shown interest in buying seed from the LSBs.
The fact that LSBs have closer ties to farmers than commercial companies, and are recognized by local authorities and the NAADS, motivates farmers to buy seed from LSBs. Nonetheless, rumours of fake and poor quality commercial seed have made some farmers reluctant to buy seed in general. LSBs could build on social relationships to strengthen trust amongst their customers, and show that they are reliable sources of good quality seed.
The most profitable seed is that which has a high commercial value, such as hybrid maize, and is produced by commercial seed companies. LSBs serve a much more local market. The added value for LSBs to produce seed with lower commercial value is their proximity to farmers and the opportunity to serve niche markets (low volumes of seed, or seed that is too bulky for seed companies to be profitable).
The concept of community seed production as a market-oriented local seed business supports the sustainable production of quality seed and enhances food security. However, in order to be successful the concept needs a favourable national policy environment, access to inputs for quality seed production, and consumer confidence in the seed produced by LSBs.