The importance of a reliable supply of high-quality seed to the growth and development of African agriculture cannot be overstated. This publication provides insights into the various seed systems; the
policy environment; the value chain actors including universities, enterprises, farmers and women’s groups as well as regulatory and other support agencies; and the challenges faced in improving seed
quality and availability in East and Central Africa. It is an output of the CTA/ASARECA ‘Seed Science and Policy Learning Writeshop,’ which was held in conjunction with the 2nd ASARECA General
Assembly and Scientific Conference in Burundi in December 2013.
Africa’s share of the global seed trade, currently standing at less than 2%, can be increased if concerted, collective action is taken by government, industry and knowledge institutes. However, several factors
limit investments in the seed sector. These include the differing systems; the inconsistent policies, standards, regulations and procedures; the high costs for registering new varieties; and the inadequate
infrastructure that underpin the seed industry. These barriers to increased intraregional and global trade need to be effectively addressed.
The specific objectives of the CTA/ASARECA policy writeshop were to:
• bring together key academics, researchers, experts, farmers and policy-makers to share research results, knowledge and experiences, derive policy lessons and plan interventions to strengthen
policies, programmes, and practices to promote seed entrepreneurship;
• enhance the contribution of universities as facilitators and catalysts in increasing food security through the provision of quality seeds and services; and
• enhance the capacity of and collaboration among seed-sector actors for promoting seed innovation and entrepreneurship.
These objectives were met and the result is this publication, in which the major contributors are actors directly involved in and committed to the integrated development of Africa’s seed sector.
CTA is pleased to have collaborated with ASARECA, universities, research organisations, farmers’ and non-governmental organisations and related policy and regulatory organs in harnessing this
knowledge. We are sure that it will serve as a basis for influencing future policy and practice to support the development of the seed industry in Africa.