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A Multi stakeholder approach to seed systems of food-feed crops for smallholder farmers in the tropics

Published by:
Publication date
Type of Publication:
Articles & Journals
Focus Region:
Asia and the Pacific
Sub-Saharan Africa
Focus Topic:
Agricultural Value Chains / Agri-Businesses
Type of Risk:
Managerial & operational
Roothaert, R.L.; Olufajo, O.O.; Bezkorowajnyj, P.G.; Prasad, V.L.; Ch. Ravinder Reddy

Improved dual-purpose food-feed crops have potential to raise income and improve the lives of smallholder farmers in the tropics. In many cases farmers rely on crop residues as a source of fodder and a focus on dual-purpose crops has been considered as having greater potential to address fodder scarcity constraints than planted forages per se. New varieties of food-feed crops have been developed and are liked by farmers but adoption has generally lagged behind. This paper describes the crucial role of seed production and distribution systems for scaling out dual purpose food-feed crops in Nigeria and India. Some comparisons are made with seed systems for forages elsewhere in the tropics. In Nigeria and India participatory varietal selection trials identified new varieties of cowpea and groundnut that were preferred by farmers. Recently, an actor linkage approach has been introduced to facilitate seed systems in Nigeria and India. Case studies are presented on efforts to enhance sustainable public-private partnerships in seed production of dual-purpose crops. The private sector has the capacity to move fast in new markets for forage seeds, while the public sector can provide crucial demand related information such as location, type, and amounts of required seeds. Smallholder artisan seed production, storing and distribution systems can co-exist with private sector seed systems. For food feed seed innovation systems to thrive, policy reforms are necessary, especially in the public research and development institutes. Enhancing the capacity and a new mindset of all actors involved is necessary to tap the full potential of forage seed innovation systems to make an impact on smallholders’ lives.