Direct Seed Marketing Program in Ethiopia in 2013: An Operational Evaluation to Guide Seed-Sector Reform
68 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2014
Date Written: May 30, 2014
In 2013 the Bureaus of Agriculture in the regional states of Amhara, Oromia, and Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples of Ethiopia supported a program of direct marketing of certified seed by seed producers to farmers across 31 woredas (districts). This program stands in contrast to the dominant procedure for supplying such seed in which farmers register with local agricultural offices or extension agents to purchase seed for the coming cropping season and then receive seed either directly from these local offices or through local cooperatives. Under the direct seed marketing program, seed enterprises, both public (parastatal seed enterprises) and private, were authorized to sell seed, primarily hybrid maize seed, directly to farmers in the selected woredas.
To generate evidence to guide future action by government on whether it should allow greater direct interaction between seed producers and Ethiopian smallholder farmers, the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency requested that the International Food Policy Research Institute evaluate how the program operated. Many government officials in Ethiopia are hesitant to cede responsibility to traders for providing seed to farmers without a high level of oversight on the part of government. Does the evidence gathered justify this suspicion on the part of government officials?
Keywords: Evaluation, Hybrid maize, Hybrids, Private sector, Seed markets, Seed sector, Smallholders, Africa, Africa South of Sahara, East Africa, Ethiopia
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