Assessment of Seed Maize Systems and Potential Demand for Climate-Smart Hybrid Maize Seed in Africa: A Current Review

Africa lacks a steady supply of good quality seed due in part to lack of timely development and
conveyance of seed technologies to farmers. This study evaluated the performance of national seed
systems of five countries in eastern and southern Africa where a consortium of public- private
organizations are implementing the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) project. WEMA aimed at
developing and deploying drought-tolerant and insect-pest-protected maize hybrids (climate-smart
hybrids) to smallholder farmers royalty-free. The objectives of the study were to assess the main
components of the seed maize systems, their institutional frameworks, and estimate the potential
demand for WEMA climate-smart hybrid maize seed to guide in upscaling the seed technology to
other African countries. Primary data was gathered from key experts in the seed maize value-chain of
each country. Secondary data came from national statistics bureaux to estimate the potential demand
for WEMA seed maize. Results showed that farmers in all five countries except South Africa
overwhelming rely on the informal seed system. The formal seed system is over-regulated creating
unnecessary delays in the release and commercialization of improved seed varieties. It also increases
the cost of developing new seed technology. Except South Africa, the demand for seed maize in the
other four WEMA countries will grow by 4.1% annually from 31,614 to 35,863 metric tons of certified
seed over 2014-2020 period. The study advances several recommendations to improve the efficiency
of the seed maize systems, which when implemented, will undoubtedly improve food security in

Author (s) Details

George Marechera
African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), Nairobi, Kenya.

Grace Muinga
African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), Nairobi, Kenya.

Dr. Patrick Irungu
University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya.

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