Early generation seed

Breeder seed
forecasting and
planning is
and efficient.

Early Generation Seed (EGS) is the critical link between product development and commercialization. And yet despite its importance, commercial seed producers’ lack of consistent, timely access to clean, true-to-type early generation seed of demanded varieties is a primary bottleneck that constrains the evolution of agricultural value chains sub-Saharan Africa.

Vision of a healthy system: Public sector provides consistent funding for researcher and seed production unit salaries and benefits, consumables, and facility upkeep such as office space, fields, labs, and acclimatized storage. Public sector organization assumes the responsibility and risk of parental seed demand planning and production; attentive cost management and pre-ordering of EGS by commercial seed producers supports the organization’s ability to recover an increasing proportion of its operating costs. Commercial seed producers are aware of newly released varieties (and late-stage breeding lines) and the differentiated characteristics of each. Sufficient parent seed is available of the right varieties and at the right time and cost to supply current forecasted producer and end-user demand and ensure buffer stocks for resilience.

Basis of comparison (proposed): Mature early generation seed systems benefit from both public and private sector support for EGS production, and the cost of producing foundation seed is mostly covered by seed sales. The seed system feeds a well-established commodity value chain, and demand is high for the trait packages offered by improved varieties. Breeder seed demand forecasting and production planning is well-coordinated and efficient. Well-funded public sector focuses on making seed available, not cost recovery. Besides adequate public sector funding for seed production, EGS producers (NARIs) need to have infrastructural efficiencies (i.e., cold storage, seed processing, seed quality assurance testing equipment) that promote seed production efficiency and quality.