Making seed of improved groundnut varieties more accessible to smallholder farmers: Lessons and alternative approaches in Malawi uri icon

abstract

  • This paper details the seed supply experiences of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Malawi. ICRISAT has developed about five high yielding, marketpreferred and well-adapted improved groundnut varieties in Malawi, but no seed companies have shown any interest in producing and marketing of seed of these varieties due to low profit margins. ICRISAT, under Irish Aid funded Malawi Seed Industry Development (MSID) project initiated two seed production and distribution models in Malawi. First, certified seed of five improved groundnut varieties was produced by use of contracted farmers of NASFAM under a ?buy back? scheme facilitated by ICRISAT. At the same time, the project also facilitated certified seed production by some seed companies for marketing through available agro-dealer networks. Much of the seed from this model was channeled through the agro-dealer networks under the Government?s Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP). In three years, from 2010?2012, about 400 t of certified seed of the most preferred improved variety, CG7, was produced and distributed each year to resource-poor households in Malawi. In remote areas with poor road infrastructure, a second model of seed banks was initiated to deliver seed of improved groundnut varieties to farmers. These two seed delivery channels enhanced adoption of CG7 from 20% to about 90%. Although the MSID project established formal and informal seed production structures in Malawi, the success of the seed delivery model was mainly attributed to FISP that was able to overcome the inaccessibility constraints of seed unavailability and unaffordability. One of the main lessons learnt is that a suitable seed delivery model is location specific, and is best determined by undertaking a situational analysis to determine the constraints. Further, a public-private sector partnership, even under FISP, is important for the success of any seed delivery model in use. Continuous funding of breeder?s seed production remains critical for the success of both CSP and certified seed production models

publication date

  • 2015