Last month director Co Verdaas of the Centre for Development Innovation (CDI), Wageningen UR visited the Integrated Seed Sector Development Programme (ISSD) in Uganda.
The ISSD programme started in June 2012 and aims to contribute to a vibrant, pluralistic and market oriented seed sector in Uganda. To achieve this the programme works towards establishing functional local seed businesses and supporting the enabling environment for seed sector operators at national and local level. The first component focusses on creating commercially sustainable local seed businesses (farmer groups) with a focus on producing quality seed of superior variety for food security crops.
In Uganda the programme started with ten local seed businesses in three different agro ecological zones: Northern Uganda, West Nile and South Western Uganda. It will out-scale with an additional 100 local seed businesses during the course of the four-year programme.
The second component of the programme focusses on aspects at national and local level that hamper the development of a vibrant, pluralistic and market oriented seed sector. These include quality assurance mechanism for seed produced, access to foundation seed and integrating the informal seed systems in policies and bills. These issues are addressed through multi stakeholder processes, dialogue and innovation projects.
Together with the First Secretary of Food Security & Private Sector Development the director visited three local seed businesses that grow potato, beans and/or pasture seed in South Western Uganda. During the visit one local seed business that produces pasture seed was also linked the Uganda Crane Creameries Cooperative Union and a primary milk processing cooperative as part of the value chain development for pasture seed. The director was impressed by the progress that the groups are making, and stated that “of course some local seed businesses were more successful than other, but they all were aware that they had to decide for themselves which road to take...”.
Africa Agribusiness Academy
During the visit the director was invited to a dinner organised by the Africa Agribusiness Academy (AA Academy), a network of small and medium size agro enterprises that share experiences and work together stimulate entrepreneurship to increase food security in Africa. The AA Academy is supported by amongst others CDI.
During the last day of his visit, the director met with the principal of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences of Makerere University to discuss strategic developments and areas of further collaboration. CDI has a longstanding cooperation with Makerere in the area of climate change. The university has started collaborating in the ISSD programme as well.