Grain Market: A Pull for Seed Businesses across Bean Corridors in Tanzania
The Feed the Future Global Supporting Seed Systems for Development (S34D) activity is implemented by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and its consortium of partners. The analysis of the yellow bean corridor in Tanzania was conducted under S34D by a team of researchers at Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI), the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, Pan-Africa Bean Research Alliance (PABRA) and CRS. The bean corridors for specific market types are well-established across Tanzania and extend to other countries in the region demonstrating a market pull for seed. One of the most traded bean types across corridors in Tanzania is the yellow type and its variants. There are three major sources of seed in Tanzania: formal, informal, and integrated seed systems. In this 90-minute session, panelists will present findings from the Yellow Bean study that aimed to characterize and explore business and investment opportunities in three seed systems to respond to grain trade demand.
- The study also shows how bean traders use various innovations to intervene in the seed supply chain using both informal and formal seed systems.
- Traders use an informal system where they seek out specific varieties (including the yellows) from farmers, and manage the local seed via a series of explicit practices. The local seed business is lucrative, complementing the impressive grain business (in Tanzania which has impacts extending across 8 other countries).
- Leveraging the formal system, some traders interested in specific varieties also connect research outputs and small-scale farmers through seed companies or other local seed entrepreneurs. These actors would source early generation seed, multiply and sell it to farmers, then aggregate grains and sell to the markets.
The panelists will share their experiences on demand-led seed systems (both formal and informal) and how this contributed to high variety turnover and more comprehensive variety access in Tanzania. These integrated seed systems also reduced time lags between release and use to less than three years while expanding business opportunities to various value chain actors, particularly women and youth. Given the fast-growing demand for yellow beans, demand-led breeding is being deployed to replace lower-yielding and poorly adapted varieties by climate-resilient, farmer, and market demanded types (DLB Product Profile – Yellow dry bean (Tanzania)).
The Agrilinks webinar is an opportunity to share this information while collecting further insights on the Yellow Bean study’s implications.
Bureau for Resilience and Food Security, USAID
Rob Bertram is the Chief Scientist in USAID’s Bureau for Resilience and Food Security, where he serves as a key adviser on a range of technical and program issues to advance global food security and nutrition. In this role, he leads USAID’s evidence-based efforts to advance research, technology and implementation in support of the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, Feed the Future. He previously served as Director of the Office of Agricultural Research and Policy in the Bureau for Resilience and Food Security, which leads implementation of the Feed the Future research strategy and related efforts to scale innovations in global food security efforts, working with a range of partners. Prior to that, he guided USAID investments in agriculture and natural resources research for many years. Dr. Bertram’s academic background in plant breeding and genetics includes degrees from University of California, Davis, the University of Minnesota and the University of Maryland. He also studied international affairs at Georgetown University and was a visiting scientist at Washington University in St. Louis. He has been especially active in plant genetic resources policy as it relates to research for development, including applications of biotechnology in food security-related research. Before coming to USAID, he served with USDA's international programs as well as overseas with the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) system.
Dr. Geoffrey Mkamilo
Tanzania Agriculture Research Institute (TARI)
Dr. Godfrey Mkamilo is the Director-General of the Tanzania Agriculture Research Institute (TARI). He holds a Ph.D. in Production Ecology and Resource Conservation and worked as a National Coordinator for Cassava Research Program. His main role was to ensure that research on cassava was conducted cohesively and effectively in the country. This action track aims to guide policymakers in the Ministry of Agriculture to make appropriate national decisions for cassava. He has extensive research experience and has participated in numerous tailor-made courses in gender, conventional and molecular breeding, and molecular and phenotypic data analyses. His extensive experience with internationally funded projects is notable, having worked as principal investigator/coordinator for NARS Tanzania for several projects. He has collaborated with several CGIAR organizations, including Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT and IITA.
Jean Claude Rubyogo
Alliance Global Bean Programme Leader & Director
Pan-Africa Bean Research Alliance (PABRA)
Jean Claude Rubyogo is the Leader of the Bean Programme and Director of PABRA at the Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (ABC). For more than 30 years, he has focused on impactful seed systems research and development, seed delivery systems, and inclusive agricultural enterprise development. For the last 20 years, he has been the PABRA seed systems specialist. He has led multi-country public-private partnership initiatives and multi-disciplinary teams developing and deploying sustainable and impact-oriented bean seed systems and complementary management in several member countries of the Pan Africa Bean Research Alliance (see http://www.pabra-africa.org). He has published/contributed to more than 60 publications on demand led breeding, impact oriented seed systems, agricultural technology transfer.
G2L Company Limited
Ms. Gaudencia Bakilile is the General Manager for G2L Company Limited. Her work spans ten years in grain trading, including common beans, rice, and maize. G2L is an agri-processing and trading company based in Makambako Town, Njombe Region, Tanzania. G2L works with 3,185 (45% women) smallholder farmers on a contract farming basis. They support input (certified/QDS seed and fertilizer) agricultural advisory service, produce aggregation, loan management, including linking smallholders to financial institutions for inputs loans, and offer training. The company supports five local agro-dealers as a pilot in the 2021/2022 season to access common bean certified seed and facilitate the QDS production to increase seed availability at the village level. Currently, the company handles 6,000 metric tonnes of bean grains per year.
Dr. Eliud Birachi
Market Value Chains Specialist
Dr. Eliud Birachi is a Project Leader at the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT working in Africa as a Market Economist/Market Value Chains specialist for Africa under the Pan-Africa bean Research Alliance (PABRA). He holds a Doctor of Science degree in Agribusiness, University of Kiel, Germany and an MSc degree in Agricultural Economics and Management from Wageningen University, Netherlands. His research interest is in linking farmers to markets and agro-enterprise development. Recent work focuses on agricultural commercialization, gender empowerment and rural employment in agricultural dependent systems. In addition, he has facilitated value addition and processing of agricultural products, particularly beans, as part of the value chain development efforts and informal sector on seeds and grain across sub-Sahara Africa and digital agriculture (in digital market places) for smallholder producers and SMEs.
Dr. Jeff Ehlers
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Dr. Jeff Ehlers is the Programme Officer at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he supports the breeding and deployment of legumes and small cereals. Before joining the Gates Foundation in mid-2012, Jeff worked for the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Kenya as a legume breeder, then worked breeding wild rice in Northern California for a small seed and farming company for three years. He later joined UC-Riverside, where he spent over twenty years on various projects serving the legume industry in California. With USAID funding, he continued to work in Africa with the national cowpea programs of Burkina Faso, Senegal, Mozambique and Ghana that supported the development and release of 7 varieties with a demonstrated economic impact in Africa. Jeff has more than 65 scientific publications.
Louise Sperling is Coordinator, SeedSystem.org. She has managed and technically backstopped agricultural programs in over 30 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Sperling’s work encompasses seed systems work in normal smallholder farmer systems as well as high stress ones: for example, she led assessment missions after the 1994 Rwandan genocide, post-earthquake in Haiti, and pre-Referendum South Sudan. Sperling has co-authored over 100 articles, inter alia: Seed systems farmers use (Food Security 2016); Making seed systems more resilient (Global Environmental Change 2013, Understanding and strengthening informal seed markets (Experimental Agriculture 2010), and Moving towards more effective seed aid (Journal of Development Studies 2008). The website SeedSystem.org shares practical and policy advice for those supporting smallholder farmer seed systems in crisis, chronic stress and developmental periods.