Twenty-two seed companies across 19 Eastern and Southern Africa countries have been selected for the Access to Seeds Index for Eastern and Southern Africa.
The companies have been identified as best positioned to support the productivity of smallholder farmers and the sustainable development goals (SDGs).
From the lot, the leading company in supporting smallholder farmer productivity in the region, will be announced in the 2019 Access to Seeds Index for Eastern and Southern Africa.
“By benchmarking seed companies, this index gives credit to companies that show leadership and encourages others to follow their example. It also provides valuable information for governments, research institutes and donors interested in building partnerships with seed companies,” said Ido Verhagen, the executive director of the Access to Seeds Index.
He added that smallholder farmers need to not only produce more food, but at the same time adapt their agricultural practices to the changing weather conditions caused by climate change.
“By improving access to quality seeds, seed companies can make a vital contribution in supporting smallholder farmers with overcoming this challenge,” said the Access to Seeds Index executive director.
In 2016, the first Access to Seeds Index for Eastern Africa showed minor variances between companies. However, in early 2019, the second Access to Seeds Index for Eastern and Southern Africa will show which seed company is taking the lead in supporting smallholders.
The nomination of the 22 companies was based on company business models, track record and regional presence and was overseen by a committee of six experts from the region.
Improving the productivity of smallholder farmers is a key target SDGs and by measuring the seed industry’s performance, the Access to Seeds Index; an initiative funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the government of the Netherlands, and which encourages seed companies to step up their efforts in supporting smallholder farmer productivity, strives to contribute in achieving these goals.