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Measuring inclusive access to improved seeds in Uganda: A pilot study

July 8, 2024

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Access to seeds of improved varieties is a key driver of agricultural development in developing countries, because the features of improved varieties1 (higher yield, disease resistance, nutritional benefits, etc.) hold the potential to transform the lives of farmers who use them. Such benefits notwithstanding, the utilization of
improved varieties remains low in much of Africa (Sheahan and Barrett 2017). Efforts such as The African Seed Access Index (TASAI) are dedicated to mapping bottlenecks in the seed value chain, including reasons for the low adoption rates of improved varieties and quality seeds. However, to date, these efforts have paid limited attention to the fact that the adoption rates are uneven among African smallholder farmers, and certain “vulnerable groups,” mainly women, youth, and resource-poor farmers, persistently lag behind most male smallholder
farmers, in access to and use of quality seeds. While this unequal access is widely acknowledged, accurate data are lacking about the size of the gap and contributing factors. This lack of data makes it more difficult to effectively intervene.

To respond to the challenge of insufficient data on inclusive access to quality seeds, Work Package 6, under the CGIAR Initiative SeedEqual, has set out to develop a set of metrics to assess inclusive access to improved seeds
in a select group of countries in Africa and Asia. TASAI Inc. – the organization that coordinates the work of TASAI – has been engaged to develop the relevant metrics and corresponding data collection tools. TASAI’s seed sector assessment tool (the TASAI survey) has been used in 23 countries to date, in some countries, multiple times. However, the primary data source for TASAI studies is seed companies and not farmers, and there is also limited focus on the vulnerable groups of interest to SeedEqual. Nevertheless, the TASAI survey is a tried-and-tested tool that has served as a good starting point for this exercise.

Accordingly, the TASAI team began with the selection of 10 TASAI indicators that (with some modification) – provide information relevant to inclusive access to quality seeds in the target country. In addition, based on a consultation with a set of international seed sector experts (see Appendix 6 for participating institutions), the team added 10 new indicators to gather data from farmers through household surveys, community seed banks, and quality-declared seed (QDS) producer groups. This expanded group of 20 indicators was narrowed down to 17 during the first pilot study in Uganda, either because two indicators were combined into one or the particular indicator was deemed not relevant upon further consideration. Table 1 outlines the changes the indicators underwent during the research process. Importantly, the indicators that required household data collection introduced an additional time/cost element, but the researchers agreed that including farmers in the assessment was necessary, as otherwise the study would leave out the key vulnerable populations the SeedEqual project is targeting. Further, gathering information from multiple respondent groups also presented an important chance to validate and triangulate findings.


More solutions from: TASAI - African Seed Access Index

Website: http://tasai.org

Published: July 8, 2024

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