Course Details - Integrated Seed Sector Development

A vibrant, pluralistic and market-oriented seed sector

Seed is an essential input for crop production. Access of farmers to affordable quality seed of improved and farmer-preferred varieties is key in increasing agricultural production and productivity. Supporting the development of a vibrant and pluralistic seed sector can substantially contribute to increasing food security and economic development in developing countries. If you strive to broaden your international experience and strengthen your competencies to support seed sector development taking an integrated perspective, this course is an interesting opportunity.

Contemporary lessons in seed sector development

Public sector seed programmes in most developing countries targeted the dissemination of quality seed of improved varieties in the 1970s and ’80s, assuming that with these efforts the informal seed system would disappear. The orientation of the 1990s shifted towards the withdrawal of the public sector, promoting privatisation and liberalisation of the seed market. However, only for a limited number of crops, like hybrid maize and vegetables, large-scale commercial seed production appears to be successful. Throughout the world, the largest quantities of seed are still produced by farmers themselves.

Integrated seed sector development

Integrated Seed Sector Development (ISSD) acknowledges and appreciates the unique challenges faced by a sector characterised by diversity and complexity. Instead of addressing it by linear and independent pathways, it promotes a pluralistic approach and complementary seed systems’ development. ISSD aims to better link informal and formal seed systems, and balance public and private sector involvement. It explores variation among seed value chains with the aim of making seed programmes and policies more coherent with farmers’ practices. As such, ISSD aims to contribute to overarching objectives of food security, economic development, the promotion of entrepreneurship, and agrobiodiversity conservation and use.

New professionalism in the seed sector

The overall objective of this three-week course is to enhance your capabilities to translate the ISSD approach into strategies for making seed programmes and policies more coherent with farmers’ practices. You will learn to facilitate interactions between formal and informal seed systems, and to promote entrepreneurship and innovation in the seed sector. Three course modules guide you through a process in meeting your expectations. and policies more coherent with farmers’ practices. As such ISSD aims to contribute to overarching objectives of food security, economic development, the promotion of agricultural entrepreneurship, and biodiversity conservation and use.

Programme modules

Module 1: Concepts and practice of ISSD

  • ISSD and seed systems: How to take a systems perspective to seed sector development?
  • Seed value chains: What are entry points for strengthening specific seed value chains?
  • Agrobiodiversity management: How to support the conservation and sustainable management of plant genetic resources?
  • Crop improvement: How to ensure that varieties meet farmers’ demands?
  • Seed quality assurance: How to manage, assess and assure seed quality?
  • Seed business development: How to take an entrepreneurial approach towards seed production, and how to support seed business planning?
  • Partnerships and innovation: How to work on institutional issues hampering seed sector development through multi-stakeholder platforms and partnerships?
  • Seed related policies: How do international treaties and agreements, and national seed laws relate to your work?

Module 2: Seed business study tour

Field study: Visits to different Dutch seed companies and organisations supporting a strong Dutch top-sector, like the Centre for Genetic Resources and the Dutch General Inspection Service, will expose you to state-of-the-art Dutch seed business environments and allows direct interactions with managers and their staff. A real eye-opener.

Module 3: Action planning

Action planning: Concluding with the development of personal action plans allows you to integrate all course topics into the reality of your working situation, looking at opportunities for bringing the ISSD approach into practice in your own work.

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