Models are defined as a standard or example for imitation, comparison, or emulation.

Examples include:  

  • Community-based seed production schemes to produce open-pollinated varieties and clonally propagated crop varieties, 
  • Early-generation seed production through commercial entities, and
  • The use of mother-baby trials for testing new varieties against existing popular varieties.

Three models emerged as critically important for Africa’s seed system: 

  • EGS modelsthat consider the role of commercial companies, NARS, NARS + seed companies, and seed companies providing EGS to other seed companies, 
  • Farmer awareness includes small packs, field days, markets, on-farm trials, radio programs, and other marketing platforms to inform farmers of improved varieties and the advantages they offered over older varieties, 
  • Seed certification models from different countries to build trust in seed quality while ensuring certification processes did not impede the flow of quality seed into the market. 

Shaping the future of seeds (cross-cutting issues)

  • Seed quality control: Quality control is key to ensuring seeds will be of certain quality standards (purity, germination) and deliver what farmers pay for, in terms of yield, grain quality, and other traits. Quality control has a cost, and a formal certification scheme may impede the development of local seed organizations. There is need to explore cost-effective ways to build trust.
  • ICRISAT advises farmers and seed organizations on the most appropriate quality insurance system depending on crops, country, and maturity of seed markets. Community-based seed systems may follow less stringent rules, more adapted to smallholder seed growers like the Quality Declared Seed system in Tanzania, or Truthfully Labelled Seeds in India. In Malawi, to support the seed certification agency, ICRISAT has trained barefoot seed inspectors. A mobile application for seed quality control is being developed to improve transparency and lower the cost of seed certification. There is a school of thought that argues for liberalization to support both informal and formal seed systems.
  • The Access to Seeds Index (ATSI) annually provides a summary for eachcountry and the seed company scores based on how well the company is positioned to reach smallholders for food and nutritional security. It is important to note that the Access Cost-effective ways to build trust to Seeds Index does not cover all seed companies but only those who meet their criteria. There’s an opportunity to incentivize more seed companies in Africa through some competitive criteria. 

Key takeaways from models

  • Models are not static and are expected to adapt over time to serve multiple contexts across Africa.
  • Models for future consideration include financing mechanisms, community-based seed production, and seed production for self-pollinated and vegetatively propagated crops among others.
  • There is need to apply models to different contexts, for example, in-country assessment could be done to identify the best models for different crops and intra-country regions.
  • CESSA uses strategic grants to advance its knowledge of products for scaling seed production, processing, and marketing. This is especially important for underinvested crops including vegetatively propagated crops, dry land cereals, and legumes.
  • CESSA prioritizes knowledge sharing including Knowledge Management and capturing learnings through grant reporting.
  • Additional models for future development based on user demands shall be captured and shared through the CESSA website.


Early Generation Seed (EGS) Models for Africa

Farmer Awareness Models
Seed Certification Models