Africa's newly liberalised seed industry has made significant progress in rolling out new, productive varieties to farmers, but many challenges remain, according to a new index produced by Cornell University and Market Matters, a nonprofit organisation.
The African Seed Access Index (TASAI), which launched in March, issued its first scorecard on an industry that is vital to the continents agricultural development, but which is often mired in regulation.
"I think we've known for a long time that the adoption of improved seed in Africa is very low. We thought that there must be issues in the flow of seed, because we know there's research and development," says Ed Mabaya, assistant director of Cornell University's International Institute for Food, Agriculture and Development and the head of the TASAI project.
"We wanted to develop a tool that allows you to work upstream in the seed delivery system, and identify where those narrow bottlenecks are in the delivery system."
The research found that, despite its large agriculture sector, Kenya's seed industry...