Private-Public Partnership: An Effective Model to Increase and Sustain Bean Seed Access to Smallholder Farmers in Malawi
J.C. Rubyogo; R. Magreta; R. Chirwa; E. Mazuma; M.Andrews
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A poster presented at the 2012 Global Pulse Researchers Meeting, Kigali, Rwanda- “Transforming Grain-Legume Systems to Enhance Nutrition and Livelihoods”. Abstract: Conventional models of legume seed delivery in Africa, which are relatively top-down and centralised with National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) have proved to be slow and of limited reach. This has led to the search for alternative models of seed production and delivery. In this poster, we demonstrate that public-private partnerships can play an important role in the bean seed value chain and make a difference in the delivery of seed of improved bean varieties to farmers. Common bean is an important food crop in Malawi, covering an estimated area of 260,000 ha in 2010. However, the reliable access to quality seed of improved bean varieties is still constrained by lack of sustainable supply. Through a public-private partnership, the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), the Department of Agricultural Research Services DARS of Malawi (DARS) and Demeter Seed Ltd agreed to share seed system-related roles and responsibilities. Between 2009 and 2011, about 1040 tons of seed of improved varieties were supplied to 590,000 small-scale farmers. An evaluation carried out to assess the outcomes and fine-tune the partnership revealed that sustained provision of foundation seeds through diversified sources (both private and public), technical support/backstopping from extension staff and researchers to private seed suppliers are essential in establishing an efficient and sustainable seed supply system.