Mapping out the state of the African seed sector

BR-BU-voice-technology-radio Smallholders in Africa face difficulties in accessing improved seeds of staple crops
© Market Matters Inc.

The TASAI index maps out the strengths and weaknesses of the African seed sector. Presently implemented in four countries, it should cover 20 within two years.  

The African Seed Access Index (TASAI) has been developed by the Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture and Development and the NGO Market Matters in response to the difficulties that smallholder farmers face in accessing improved seeds of staple crops, which continues to contribute to Africa’s poor yields. TASAI maps out the strengths and weaknesses of the seed sector across African countries. It monitors 16 indicators that are grouped into five categories: research and development, industry competitiveness, service to smallholder farmers, seed policy and regulations, and institutional support.

Initially, TASAI has been implemented in four pilot countries – Kenya, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe – with highly differentiated results. In South Africa, the seed sector is competitive which enables farmers to get new seed varieties more rapidly than in Kenya (2 years), Uganda (3 years) and Zimbabwe (12 months). On the other hand, South Africa’s results are not as good regarding the availability of seed in small packages, which are more adapted to smallholder farmers’ needs and budget. Kenya’s seed policy framework scores well, but its efforts to stamp out fake seed are poor. The index also shows that in the last three years, Kenya has released 35 maize varieties, South Africa 221, Uganda 12 and Zimbabwe 28. Within two years, the index should cover 20 countries.

Anne Guillaume-Gentil

Top of page