Analysis of Market Approaches to Ensure Availability of Seed

SEADS Handbook Location: Chapter 5

The 10 case studies reviewed in this Feed the Future report used a supply-side, market-led support intervention in the formal sector. The goal was to ensure availability of modern varieties. Seed suppliers supplied or produced seed, which was subsequently bought back by governments or non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and then given to farmers for free or at a deep discount. This intervention occurred particularly in chronically seed-insecure contexts and was frequently repetitive. A variant of this formal-sector, market-led support involved giving credit to agro-dealers to procure and sell seed directly. An additional demand-side subsidy was seed vouchers given to farmers. These vouchers were redeemable at the agro-dealers for up to 50% of the seed value. This subsidy had elements of sustainability: it linked relief to development in that the customer base (farmers) directly interfaced with the market-led seed supplier (agro-dealers).

While detailed seed market analysis can be challenging to carry out in the context of an emergency response where time and/or security constraints may exist, there are tools to address this gap. These tools can be employed quickly if accompanied by technical expertise. Building in much more data collection would facilitate collaborative learning and socializing of best practices around what is actually being tested and implemented in terms of market-led approaches to address seed security for smallholder farmers.

Walsh, S. & Sperling, L. (2019). Review of practice and possibilities for market-led interventions in emergency seed security response. A Feed the Future Global Supporting Seed Systems for Development activity (S34D) report. Feed the Future and United States Agency for International Development (USAID). https://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PA00WPBN.pdf.