By Abel Muhatia @abelmuhatia
Its time to put a stop to government seed monopolies and brokers in Africa.
This is after the African Seed Access Index TASAI launched an initiative on Thursday morning in bid to monitor the state of Africa’s rapidly evolving seed sector.
An initiative of its kind,(TASAI) issued detailed scorecards on seed development and distribution in Kenya, Uganda, South-Africa and Zimbabwe with a focus on increasing choices for small-scale farmers.
“African farms lag behind due to lack of access to improved varieties of staples crops such as maize, cowpea and sorghum. Due to this, we believe that by tracking indicators along the seed delivery chain, investors and policy makers can target choke points that are overshadowing the flow of seeds to small-scale farmers.” Said Ed Mabaya, the assistant director of Cornell University’s International Institute for Food, Agriculture and Development (CIIFAD)
In his speech during the launch of this index in Nairobi, Mabaya noted that there are opportunities to develop sustainable seed production capacity in Africa.
TASAI is expected to improve the seed sector by systematically tracking 16 indicators across five categories that access the vibrancy and competitiveness of the national seed sector. Emphasizing further, Mabaya said all this will be done by measuring the health and performance of research and development, service to small-scale farmers plus the industry competitiveness.
“Seeds may not be a cure-all but without a healthy seed sector, its hard to see how African farmers can satisfy the food demands of a population growing faster than any on earth and adapt to the effects of climate change that are rapidly altering farm conditions” said Joe Devries the director of the program for African seed systems at the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)
TASAI’s analysis is currently focused on the four most important crops in each country interms of area planted.