PASTTA (Partnership for Seed Technology Transfer in Africa)

Crops of focus: Potato, maize, cowpea, sesame, pearl millet, sorghum, soybean, bean, fonio, groundnut 
Countries of focus: Kenya, Mali, Senegal, Rwanda

Across the developing world, 450 million smallholder farmers provide approximately 80% of the food consumed in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). A major constraint on smallholder development in SSA is a widespread lack of quality seeds of improved varieties. Farmers have access to a very limited offer of varieties that meet their needs. For instance, farmers require varieties that are adapted to the context in which they farm (e.g. climate, season, etc.), they need to be high-performing and their commercialization must be simple and easily saleable.

Quality seeds and improved genetics are proven to contribute substantially towards productivity gains for farmers. However, adoption rates of modern varieties remain stubbornly low in SSA. Often, quality seeds are only available for up to 10% of the area. Therefore, it remains more likely that a farmer plants a local variety that is more or less the same as that cultivated by previous generations. More resources are needed for identifying, developing, registering, and promoting suitable new varieties, which either already exist elsewhere or are emerging from breeding pipelines.  

Therefore, PASTTA’s goal is to increase farm incomes of both male and female smallholder farmers, by encouraging the accessibility to good quality seeds of performing varieties. A particular notice is given to varieties with Climate-Smart Resilient Agriculture (CSRA) traits, such as drought tolerance, pest and disease tolerance, etc. Through targeted actions and investments with local stakeholders, alongside the financial contribution of the USAID, PASTTA aims to address the challenges that currently exist in SSA. Initiatives aim to increase the accessibility and the adoption of quality but also affordable seeds of improved varieties for the crops that smallholder farmers need.  

Specifically, the project uses Seeds2B’s process for commercializing varieties in order to strengthen seed systems and improve farmers’ access to quality seeds. Basing on the Product Life Cycle of a variety, the Seeds2B’s process guides marketing and management decisions as the products go through the stages of selection, development, introduction, growth, maturity and decline. Stage gates and product advancement criteria are defined based on specific objectives detailed in Target Product Profiles, to ensure that only market-appropriate varieties are advanced through the pipeline. 

We believe that developing and implementing sustainable business models for the transfer of technology for public institutions from the private sector is part of the solution. SFSA and its local and international partners have thus designed a project with business-process led activities along the causal pathway, to accomplish the set high-level objectives of PASTTA.


KenyaCommon beans, Irish potato, Groundnut, Soybean  
Mali  Cowpea, Maize, Sorghum, Soybean  
Senegal  Cowpea, Fonio, Maize, Pearl millet, Sesame   


Project Notes

  • During the first phase of the project, PASTTA was implemented in the three countries above as well as in Uganda and Malawi. Key achievements can be found for the five countries in the phase 1 final project performance report (Final Performance Report of PASTTA Jan 2023). 

  • PASTTA in Rwanda is implemented by the International Potato Center (CIP) and focuses only on potato crops. 



Through partnerships with our local and international partners (research institutes, seed companies, Feed the Future Innovation labs, NGOs, etc.), PASTTA is supporting the implementation of a wide range of activities, including: 


 Value-chain analysis  Variety trials (adaptation, demonstration, registration)  Variety advancement to commercialization stage  
Early Generation Seeds (EGS) securitization and certified seed production   Capacity building   Seed policy  


Publications and resources   

  • For a perspective on the initiatives undertaken by the PASTTA project in Senegal with the Kabamanoj maize crop and its outcomes (Dec 2022), watch here or find out more about the prospects of how this maize variety could lift a whole region, read this article.
  • Initiatives of the PASTTA programme include transferring seed-related technologies to smallholders, such as potato crops as in the case of Kenya (to find out more about how PASTTA bags more potatoes, click here).
  • For a better understanding of how potatoes offer new perspectives for smallholder farmers, you may find an article on the contributions of PASTTA and a video of a Seeds2B Project field day in Samburu County, Kenya.
  • SFSA has worked in Mali since 1981. As a part of the PASTTA program, the introduction of new seeds has shown the importance of public-private teamwork, especially when it comes to making them accessible to farmers. To find out more, click here.
  • For more information on the outcomes of PASTTA in the case of Uganda, including on the implementation of six new bean varieties, click here.
  • To access all the seed-related policy reports developed during the PASTTA project, click here.
  • For the Final Performance Report of the PASTTA initiative 2017 – 2022: