ISSD Africa: Webinar, June 9 – Creating demand for quality seed in northern Uganda

On June 9, ISSD Africa will host a webinar to explore innovations and experiences in improving demand creation for quality seed.

The webinar builds on a case study of East West Seed Knowledge Transfer and ISSD Plus activities in northern Uganda

The webinar takes place on June 9th at:

CET: 10.00 – 11.00
EAT: 11.00 – 12.00

Have a question for the panel? Ask it here

Watch the introductory video to the case study:

Creating demand for quality seed

Despite billions of dollars invested in the development of improved crop varieties, yields in Africa lag significantly behind other regions of the world. Among smallholder farmers in Africa, low rates of adoption of improved varieties and turnover of quality seed are observed. Smallholders seldom replenish their stocks from a source of certified seed. Even if having adopted an improved variety, in many cases these varieties were released more than a decade ago. Low rates of adoption and turnover of varieties contribute to the trend of low productivity.

Whilst the scientists and development agencies seem to know a lot about what farmers need, little is known about what they want. Too often farmers are considered beneficiaries and not clients. This calls for a better understanding of their consumer behaviour and what works best when promoting quality seed.

A webinar on creating demand
This international webinar draws upon the experience of leaders in industry and a successful public-private partnership in promoting quality vegetable seeds in northern Uganda to facilitate the kind of sharing of key insights needed to improve our understanding.

Joining the panel for this discussion are:

  1. Annet Kizza, Knowledge Transfer Manager of East-West Seed in Uganda;
  2. Joost Guijt, Advisor Inclusive Agrimarkets at Wageningen University & Research (WUR) and author of the case study;
  3. Gareth Borman, WUR advisor and leader of the topic Creating demand for quality seed of ISSD Africa

Spreading the gospel: adoption processes of good horticulture practices in northern Uganda
Since 2018, the Integrated Seed Sector Development programme in Uganda (ISSD Plus) partners with several international companies in promoting the use of quality seed to increase vegetable growers’ earnings and competitiveness to improve food and nutrition security in the country. East-West Seed is one of the companies involved.

East-West Seed, through its Knowledge Transfer programme, teamed up with ISSD Plus to see if they could effectively introduce high quality vegetable seed and necessary horticultural skills to an underdeveloped market for vegetables in Northern Uganda. Within two years, there seems to be exceptionally enthusiastic uptake of the techniques shared and quality seeds demonstrated. With additional support from ISSD Africa, the two set out to explain why.

Key insights
Clearly, the case demonstrates that the availability of a quality product doesn’t guarantee its sale. Seed companies need to get out there and sell it, and a systemic approach to product promotion leads to more rapid uptake.

“It is market creation really, and building interpersonal trust appears to be an important factor”

Another is ensuring a return on investment, which involves good horticultural practices that maximize the yield and quality potential of seed of an improved variety.

The case study documents six activities as part of the partnership’s knowledge transfer strategy: in-depth training; training of trainers; farmer field days; key farmer gatherings; radio broadcasts; and ongoing communication and technical support. A combination of people implements these activities, thereby also creating an innovation network around the farmer, including: participants in trainings; the knowledge transfer officer; lead/demo farmers; and agro-input dealers.