Farmers in Africa will improve crop production with the launch of a private public partnership to avail adequate quality seeds at the right time and affordable price.
Nairobi 19 March 2014-The African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) is partnering with Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA) to avail affordable quality seeds to farmers at the right time and place.
“Together, we aim to help seed technology owners license their products to African seed companies who will consequently avail clean and healthy seeds to farmers” says AATF Executive Director, Dr. Denis T. Kyetere.
According to Dr Kyetere great improvements are possible under this initiative and there are many technologies available that could significantly increase Africa’s agricultural productivity, however, getting these to farmers sustainably requires a functioning market, not charity hand-outs.
Dr Kyetere said AATF will act as a ‘seed technology broker’ where we will help national agricultural research systems and private breeders transfer their technologies to local companies in return for fair fees.
Dr. Ian Barker, head of agricultural partnerships at SFSA says that for many crops, the majority of smallholders rely on planting left-overs from the previous harvest therefore missing out on new breeding developments and even more old seed is often diseased and low yielding thus crop yields and farm incomes remain far below their potential.
“African researchers have developed many improved seed varieties but have problems getting these out to farmers because there are no easy mechanisms for sharing commercial benefits while technology owners need help in finding suitable seed company partners in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Seeds2B programme builds a reliable bridge between breeders and seed companies” Dr Barker says.
The programme currently focuses on Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Rwanda, Senegal and Tanzania and seeks to expand the concept to Malawi, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Benin, Liberia, Guinea, Chad, Madagascar, Burkina Faso, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and, Uganda. Crops targeted include sorghum, millet, rice, cassava, potato, sesame, sunflower, groundnut and vegetables.