Not All Seed Is Declared Equal: Improving Access
Event Date: Feb 28, 2017
Time: 09:30 AM to 11:00 AM America/New York
Location: Washington, District of Columbia, United States
Seed is the single most important agricultural input of crop production, but not all seed is equally accessible and/or available. Agrilinks, Microlinks and the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance convened a special event where experts addressed how Quality Declared Seeds (QDS) might be able to close some of the gaps by offering a range of crop and seed varieties critical to climate-smart and nutrition-sensitive agriculture.
Many small-scale farmers cannot afford to get large quantities of expensive certified seed and Quality Declared Seeds could provide an impact-oriented alternative. Produced by registered, trained, small-scale farmers or farmer groups, QDS can be an efficient way to expand smallholder farmer access to diverse seed varieties.
The event explored global seed quality regulations and trends with key examples and case studies from Uganda, Tanzania, and Malawi. Participants had the opportunity to engage in and discuss:
- The benefits of multiple seed certification systems and how the quality of QDS compares to other seed classes.
- What country-level policies are needed for Quality Declared Seeds to be adopted, produced and traded.
- The financial costs and benefits of QDS.
Not All Seed Is Declared Equal: Improving Access
Niels Louwaars is director of Plantum, the association of companies in the Netherlands dealing with plant reproductive materials. Trained as a plant breeder at Wageningen University, he spent about 10 years in Asia and Africa... more working in seed projects before returning to Wageningen University. There he worked for 20 years in different positions dealing with international cooperation and research. Based on that international experience, he developed the concept of Integrated Seed Sector Development, providing policy space for a variety of formal and informal seed systems. His PhD dealt with the interplay of policies and regulatory issues related to such seed systems, including intellectual property rights (WTO), national sovereign rights on biological diversity (CBD and ITPGRFA), Farmers’ Rights (ITPGRFA), and national seed laws. During that period he assisted several countries and institutions like the World Bank and FAO in designing their policies in this area. In Wageningen he was also manager of a major international interdisciplinary programme and represented the organization in the CGIAR. He was also a member of the Plant Breeder’s Rights chamber of the district court in The Hague. Currently he represents the Netherlands seed sector nationally and internationally. less
Astrid Mastenbroek works for Wageningen University – Centre for Development Innovation (CDI). For the last four years, she has been Chief of Party for the Integrated Seed Sector Development (ISSD) project in Uganda, funded by... more the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. One of the major achievements of the team is to organize farmer groups into sustainable local seed businesses that produce and market quality declared seed, a new seed class in Uganda. She has been working in the region since 2005 initially working for ZOA in South Sudan and later in Northern Uganda. She also worked briefly in Kenya Somaliland in 2012 after which she returned to Uganda to start the ISSD Uganda project. Astrid has a masters degree in irrigation and water management from Wageningen University and a MSc in agricultural economics from School of Oriental and African Studies at London University. Her areas of expertise include seed systems, seed policy, and seed demand economics. She has a keen interest in understanding seed purchase decisions by farmers. less
Latha Nagarajan is a senior economist at the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) based in Washington, DC. Latha works primarily on issues related to agricultural input markets, technology adoption and impact... more assessment. Latha has extensive field experience studying seed systems and markets in South Asia and Africa. She is part of the Rutgers Policy Impact Consortium with a research focus on seed policy. Previously Latha worked at Rutgers and IFPRI, and earned her Ph.D. in applied economics at the University of Minnesota. less
Louise Sperling is a Senior Technical Advisor at Catholic Relief Services focusing on more vulnerable populations. She has managed and technically backstopped programs in 30+ countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In terms... more of seed systems, per se, Sperling’s work encompasses ‘normal’ smallholder farmer systems as well as high stress ones: e.g. she led assessment missions after the 1994 Rwandan genocide, post-earthquake in Haiti, and pre-Referendum South Sudan. She 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: Sperling and McGuire); and Moving towards more effective seed aid (Journal of Development Studies 2008). A new website, seedsystem.org shares practical and policy advice for those supporting smallholder farmer seed systems in crisis, chronic stress and developmental periods. less