AVISA: Accelerated Varietal Improvement and Seed delivery of legumes and cereals in Africa
Crops of focus:Common bean, groundnut, cowpea, sorghum
Countries of focus: Nigeria, Tanzania
“Creating awareness to seed value chain actors about the importance of variety licensing for the public bred varieties”, held at Dodoma, Tanzania
Seed systems in Africa face a number of challenges in supporting the deployment of seeds of improved varieties, especially for legumes and dryland cereal crops. Such challenges include, but are not limited to:
Insufficient product profiling, market segmentation and value proposition definition
Varieties released without robust data to support investment in commercialization
Limited capacity for sustainable Early Generation Seeds (EGS), certified seed production & supply
Seed enterprises operating at sub-optimal marginal returns on their investments
Limited interest of the formal seed sector in investing in open-pollinated crops
Limited awareness by farmers of the merits of new crop varieties
Poor quality of inputs such as seeds and fertilizer that leads to poor quality of outputs with low demand by off-takers
Timely access to quality seed limited by unclear and complex local and regional policies
The Accelerated Varietal Improvement and Seed Delivery of Legumes and Cereals in Africa (AVISA) project is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In collaboration with partners, AVISA has the objective of modernizing the breeding process of grain legumes and dryland cereal crop varieties, thereby increasing the incomes of smallholder farmers.
SFSA is an implementing partner in Tanzania, with a focus on common bean and groundnut, whilst in Nigeria, initiatives targeted cowpea and sorghum. The main intervention by SFSA has been to embed best practices in seed variety commercialization while building capacity for key AVISA partners including CGIAR, National Agricultural Research System (NARS) and private sector SME seed companies. The main activities of our project has focused on the following:
Establishing a robust framework for the handover of new varieties from CGIAR and NARS networks to public and private sector seed multipliers
Technical backstopping for both public and private sector players to address constrains in EGS and certified seed production
Local and regional policy support on variety registrations, licensing, Plant Variety Protection (PVP), among others.
Nigeria: IITA, Hub managers, NASC, Seed companies (Chimande seeds, Da all green seeds, Maina seeds, Souvenire, Value seed, Premier seed, IITA go seed), out-growers.
A coordinated approach involving various stakeholders from One CGIAR’s Market Intelligence and Seed Systems initiatives as well as local NARS, was formed to embed the most adapted and effective practices in product advancement.
A robust pipeline of new varieties that meet the specific needs of value chain actors in both Nigeria and Tanzania was promoted and implemented.
Enabling policy environments to improve private sector access to, multiplication and dissemination of publicly bred varieties of the 4 focus crops: common bean, groundnut, cowpea and sorghum.
Farmers have timely access to quality seeds of improved varieties. In Nigeria, new Farmer Hubs have been created to increase last mile linkages for sorghum and cowpea varieties. In Tanzania, we leveraged the existence of myAgro to disseminate new varieties of common bean and groundnut to smallholder farmers.
Capacity building for 5 local SME seed companies through technical assistance on EGS production, mechanization, and de-risking facilities to cushion their investments into new crop value chains and seed varieties.