Our Story

AGRA programs have made significant progress over the past 15 years by investing in the creation of improved staple crop varieties, training the next generation of African breeders, and establishing a vibrant African seed industry as well as agrodealer networks to make quality crop seed available to African farmers.

Given the success in past investments, significant learning has taken place. Governments in AGRA’s focal countries (Burkina Faso, Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda) are liberalizing their seed industry, primarily via policy & regulatory changes. Local, regional, and multinational seed companies are participating in African seed systems to increase seed production, offer better seed distribution networks, and increase the availability of more varieties with special traits. Other improvements are regional seed businesses, favorable policy reforms that include more efficient variety release processes, authorized seed inspection services, plant breeder’s rights (PBR), early generation seed (EGS) production, access to public varieties, and seed company branding and marketing.

Despite these advances, the African seed system still faces challenges. Key among these challenges are:
1. Low replacement rates of old varieties,
2. Significant shortages of EGS,
3. Low-quality and counterfeit seeds,
4. Regulatory and legal frameworks not sufficiently “fit for purpose”,
5. Weak government regulatory agencies,
6. Lack of capacity to adhere to international quality standards,
7. Focus on only a few seed system elements,
8. Uncoordinated seed investment efforts, and
9. General lack of clarity on the status of African seed systems.