Access to seed still challenges small-scale farmers


Limited knowledge, lack of access to information, high cost of seed, and lack of seed laws. These factors still limited smallholder farmers’ ability to utilise seed to its full potential in Southern Africa.

Several South African Confederation of Farmers Union (SACAU) members attended a work-shop held by SACAU and the Access to Seed Foundation (ATSF) in Johannesburg. The meeting was to discuss access to seed in the Eastern and Southern African region.

Mr. Ishmael Sunga, the chief executive officer of SACAU, said planning and strategic thinking was needed for future farmers, which started with good seed.

“Access to this seed at the right time, at the right cost, at the right place and with the right quality is a key driver of productivity.”

He also said that farmers’ organisations and the seed industry should develop mutually beneficial partnerships at various levels.

Mr. Ido Verhagen, executive director of ATSF in the Netherlands, added that access to good quality seed is very important since farmers in Europe and USA have tripled their yields over the past 50 years.

According to Verhagen, evidence showed that it was cost effective for large companies to supply to smallholder farmers.

The meeting was attended by SACAU member organisations from Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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