Farmers’ seed ventures key to food security in developing countries
FAO news release, 1 March 2011

ROME, ITALY: Small seed enterprises are the best way of ensuring the availability and quality of non-hybrid seeds for food and feed crops in developing countries, said FAO in its policy guide entitled Promoting the Growth and Development of Smallholder Seed Enterprises for Food Security Crops. The policy guide is based on case studies from Brazil, India and Côte d’Ivoire. In all three cases, a favorable policy environment was found to be a key requirement to the successful development of smallholder seed enterprises. Examples include an efficient quality control and certification system, private sector support, flexible legislation and the legal recognition of the rights of farmers to save, exchange and sell seeds of commercial varieties. The guide notes that strong smallholder seed enterprises can play a key role in linking the formal seed sector, which is the primary source of new crop varieties based on “scientific” plant breeding, to the informal sector, which is connected to farmers’ and traditional knowledge. Functional linkages between the formal and informal seed sectors enhance efficiency in the operation of both sector and promote evolution of the seed sector in general. Read the news release … Download the policy guide [pdf] …