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Improving lives by solving problems in agriculture and the environment

African seed health: case study

African seed health: case study

The growth of African indigenous vegetables have provided smallholders with both food security and income. Effective farmer-led seed production models for smallholders are improving the quality of seed, meaning that a higher proportion of crops can be sold.

Farmer with healthy crop of Amaranth

Improving access to quality seeds in Africa

African Indigenous Vegetables (AIVs) have traditionally contributed significantly to food security, nutrition and incomes for smallholder farmers in East Africa. However, lack of good quality seed has hampered farmers in meeting the growing demand. This case study shows how CABI scientists tested three farmer-led seed production models in Kenya and Tanzania. We promoted access to good quality seeds and helped stakeholders develop the necessary skills to establish and manage seed production and marketing enterprises.

Good seed iniative

294 farmers linked to seed companies

A CABI team helped almost 300 farmers set up a contract with a subset of the Kenya Seed Company Ltd. called the Simlaw Seed Company. Farmers were trained in the regulation involved in seed production, post-harvest handling, processing, packaging and marketing. This gave the farmers more weight within the market.

Farmers with better seeds

We helped increase seed quantity

There are now significantly larger amounts of Amaranthus; African nightshade; Jute mallow; and Crotalaria being produced. This has led to an average increase of US$3,000 in farmer's income. The sucess of the project is demonstrated by enthusiam from neighbouring districts to be included in a similar project in the future.

Good seed iniative

New practises result in less rejection

The Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) are advising farmers on seed quality. By working with Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS), farmers are able to manufacture old and new varieties of seed with the certification to be marketed both nationally and internationally.

We aim to help those who rely on seed production to maximize their output and improve the quality of the goods they produce.

Aiding food security in a sustainible way is one of our key objectives.

By providing smallholders with resources on how to establish themselves as sellers within the market and improving their seed quality, we are able to aid farmers in ensuring a sustainable income with which to feed their family.


Guaranteeing credit to coffee farmers in Ethiopia and Rwanda

Coffee is one of the largest traded commodities in the world, providing livelihoods for 25 million farming families, and is crucial to many countries’ GDP. In places such as Ethiopia and Rwanda, coffee plays a critical role in the economy and revitalising coffee production and quality is vital; allowing farmers to attract premiums and improve... >>

Woody weeds in East Africa

Many exotic trees and shrubs have been introduced into Africa and become destructive invasive species. They're reducing native biodiversity and limiting the livelihoods of those that live in rural communities. CABI is trying to mitigate these impacts in East Africa by generating and sharing knowledge on their effects and finding ways that they can... >>

Using insects to improve smallholders’ livestock production and food security in West Africa

Poultry farming is practised by almost all smallholder farmers in West Africa but feed and protein sources are becoming increasingly expensive here, affecting meat and egg production and reducing family income. Fish farmers suffer a similar problem. We are promoting the use of insects, which are a natural food source for poultry and fish, and... >>

RUFORUM: Building agricultural universities’ capacity throughout Africa

Universities play an important and largely unfulfilled role in the well-being of small-scale farmers and the economic development of countries throughout sub-Saharan Africa. The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) supports universities to address this important role. Established in 2004, RUFORUM is a... >>

Phytosanitary system development for the vegetable sector in Ghana

Ghana’s vegetable sector has the potential to create 20,000 skilled jobs, and increase exports to the EU. But exports are hampered by quarantine pests. This project aims to improve the current system and develop a new organic supply chain by establishing an effective phytosanitary system, facilitating strategic alliances between importers and... >>

PRISE: a Pest Risk Information SErvice

Pests can decimate crops and are estimated to cause around a 40% loss. These insects, mites and plant pathogens can impact on food security and impede supply chains and international trade. A Pest Risk Information SErvice (PRISE) aims to solve this problem by using data to help farmers manage pests in up to six countries in sub-Saharan Africa. >>

Scaling-up improved legume technologies in Tanzania (SILT)

Food and nutrition security is vital in sub-Saharan Africa. This project aims to develop and use innovative approaches including complimentary communication methods to scale-up improved legume technologies and establish sustainable input systems. >>