Key stakeholders in Early Generation Seed (EGS) production and delivery systems in Uganda met recently to introduce activities conducted with the aim of implementing business models for EGS production in the country. They also deliberated on steps needed to pilot/scale the EGS business model for sorghum and finger millet in Uganda.
As a means to tackle the challenge of inadequate EGS supply in Africa, the Integrated Seed Sector Development Africa project, which organized the above meeting, is trying to implement business models in EGS production, led by ICRISAT. The goal is to explore EGS supply initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia to reveal best practices as well as bottlenecks and eventually generate ideas for designing and piloting models that can work in specific contexts. The stakeholders met at the National Semi-Arid Resources Research Institute (NaSARRI) of the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO), Uganda.
Dr Michael Ugen, Director, NaSARRI, appreciated the timeliness of the project considering the number of improved varieties that need to reach farmers – the intended users of these improved technologies. He also emphasized the need to create demand for the seed by informing farmers about the importance of regularly replacing (renewing) seed stocks if they are to benefit from the high productivity and adaptability of the improved non-hybrid varieties.
The stakeholders agreed to develop a Memorandum of Understanding with selected seed producers. They also agreed that NARO Holdings would do a cost analysis and provide the EGS production plan for sorghum and finger millet while NaSARRI maintains production of breeder seed. NaSARRI will lead in identifying potential seed producers who would work closely with the two institutions as out-growers for foundation seed.
The meeting, conducted on 4 March 2021, was attended by 18 stakeholders (14 men and 4 women), including breeders from grain legumes and dryland cereal crops breeding programs; management staff; seed company representatives; seed producer farmer organizations; non-government organizations NARO Holdings Ltd.; and Local Government representative from the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAIF).
About the authors:
Robinah Nakabaggwe, NaSARRI, Uganda
Hellen Opie, NaSARRI, Uganda
Dr Essegbemon Akpo, ICRISAT