Globally the provision and adoption of improved seed and planting material for many crops has raised crop productivity and improved the lives of millions of farmers in developing markets; Africa, however, has so far not sufficiently benefited from this productivity increase.
Crop yields in Africa are the lowest in the world, due to limited access to quality inputs especially improved seed varieties suitable for the different climatic conditions and soils. Consequently, Africa now imports up to US $35 billion worth of food annually, an amount that is predicted to increase to US $110 billion by 2025.
The African seed market has great potential for growth given that quality certified seed of high performing varieties is currently available for less than 10% of total arable acreage in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The total commercial seed market in Africa is worth approximately US $1.2 billion, of which about US $450 million is in South Africa and US $300 million is in North Africa. Based on current seed market penetration, the potential of sub-Saharan Africa seed market is at least $ 2 billion per annum most of which is owned by the private sector. This growth potential provides us an opportunity to catalyse the development of the seed market to respond to the needs of the smallholder farmer’s.
Seeds for Impact Competition
The Seeds for Impact competition is an initiative by AECF with initial funding from Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture. The competition seeks to address the funding gap faced by seed companies in their quest to produce seed for food security crops particularly, publicly-bred varieties. Seeds for Impact competition is part of a 6-year program that aims to make the seed market systems work for smallholder farmers across sub-Sahara Africa. The program targets private sector companies in 12 countries namely, Nigeria, Ghana, Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique.
What’s on offer:
Funding: Grants and Concessional Loans ranging between US $250,000 to 1.5 million
What are we looking for?
Solutions that improve how the seed market systems works for smallholder farmers
Innovative ideas that stimulate and/or enrich/contribute to next generation approaches in growing Africa’s seed sector, crowding in women and youth (efficiency, productivity, market growth in Africa)
Models that seek to scale new, in-demand publicly-bred varieties of food crops (climate-smart and nutrition focus will be considered an advantage. Crops must go beyond hybrid maize).
Ability to leverage partnerships that increase the availability of other key inputs necessary for maximising the benefits of improved seed varieties including farmers’ access to appropriate finance, extension services, technologies and output markets.
Small and Medium (SME) seed companies located in one of the focus countries and have a turnover of less than US $10million
Demonstrate ability to match AECF funding beyond the 1:1 minimum
Compliant with fundamental in-country and international human rights, labour standards, environmental management laws, seed laws/policy;
Legally registered and physically established in the country of doing business