Seeds of Development Program


The Seeds of Development Program (SODP), an innovative initiative designed to improve access to appropriate and affordable seeds for low-income smallholder farmers through business development services (BDS) training for small to medium-sized local seed companies in East and Southern Africa.

Recognizing the importance of business networks as innovative institutions to enhance the competitiveness of agribusinesses, MM Inc. has set up and coordinated the network “Seeds of Development Program” (SODP) that has facilitated business-to-business relationships among privately-owned African seed companies. As a result of their membership in the program, these emerging market firms have benefited from increased access to information, resources, and business opportunities.

Established in 2003, SODP is an award winning project that has created a powerful network of 25 locally owned, emerging seed companies operating in eight countries in East, Southern, and West Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, and Mali). SODP operates through a Fellows Program; selected seed companies that serve smallholder farmers in Africa may join the program by invitation.


– Build management capacity of small to medium-sized local seed companies in order to improve their market delivery systems for low-income farmers;

– Create platforms for networking among African seed companies, research institutions and other seed industry stakeholders to improve the former’s effectiveness in meeting the needs of smallholder farmers;
– Conduct research on the seed industry that will guide strategies of locally-owned seed companies serving resource-poor farmers and inform public policy.

These objectives are accomplished through a number of activities including workshop training, distance learning, field visits, one-on-one consultations, Seed Trading Forum, student attachments, and research.

For more information on SODP, please download the brochure or email the program coordinator, Dr. Edward Mabaya at

Program Activities

SODP objectives are accomplished through a Fellows Program, and a Research Program. All activities are coordinated by Market Matters, Inc., in collaboration with the Emerging Markets Program at Cornell University, and other seed industry stakeholders.

Fellows Program

Small and medium sized seed companies that serve smallholder farmers in Africa are carefully selected to become members of a Fellows Program. The Fellows program consists of five major capacity building, and networking activities: Workshop Training, Distance Learning, Field Visits, Seed Trading Forum, and Student Attachments.

Business Training

Each year, selected managers from the participating seed companies attend the Making Markets Matter workshop in Stellenbosch, South Africa. In addition to the general agribusiness management training received by all workshop participants, seed industry fellows participate in specialized activities and sessions designed exclusively for the seed industry. Starting in 2006, an additional workshop, exclusive to seed companies has been added.

Distance Learning

Management modules suitable for the seed industry are provided to Fellows based on identified needs. Fellows are kept up-to-date with new developments in the global, regional and domestic seed industry through an email list serve.

Field Visits

Fellows are awarded travel grants to allow them to visit successful seed companies in a country of their choice to learn about relevant aspects of seed production and marketing and to explore business opportunities.

Seed Trading Forum

Every year between harvest and the next planting season, SODP brings together managers from participating companies to network and explore opportunities for seed trading and other collaborative initiatives.

Student Attachments

As part of its capacity building effort, SODP, in collaboration with the Emerging Market Program, facilitates attachments for university students to address specific management and marketing challenges facing Fellow companies. See the following link for a news report on a recent field study course: Cornell students take winter break and provide ‘thousands of dollars’ of advice and help to Tanzanian seed companies.

Research Program

The ongoing Research Program conducts and coordinates market analysis of local seed industries in the selected Eastern and Southern African countries. Much of the research focuses on the seed industry’s organizational structure, the participants conduct and the resultant economic performance. Research findings are useful in guiding market and growth strategies for private companies, and in designing seed industry policies and regulations by governments. Case studies of specific seed companies are also being documented and used in workshop training, the distance learning program and for instruction in tertiary institutions. The research activities are coordinated by a Research Associate in the Emerging Markets Program at Cornell University.

SODP Fellows

The guiding theory of change behind SODP is that initiatives aimed at boosting the performance of small-to-medium sized seed companies will ultimately improve the socio-economic conditions of the rural poor people they serve. It is important to emphasize that the final beneficiaries of the SODP initiative are smallholder farmers in Africa. Companies are carefully selected for the Fellows program based on their commitment to serve smallholder farmers and high growth potential. Seed companies listed in the table below currently participate in SODP’s Fellows Program.

Country Company Name Managing Director Joined SODP
Kampala, Uganda FICA Seeds Mr. Chris Kaijuka 2003
Kampala, Uganda Victoria Seeds Ms. Josephine Okot 2003
Kampala, Uganda Harvest Farm Seeds Dr. Mukiri wa Githendu 2005
Hoima, Uganda Nalweyo Seed Company – NASECO Ltd Mr. Nikolai Rodeyns 2006
Nairobi, Kenya Freshco Seeds Ltd. Mr. James K. Gichanga 2003
Kitale, Kenya Western Seeds Mr. Saleem Esmail 2003
Nakuru, Kenya Faida Seeds Mr. Kahenya Njihia 2006
Nakuru, Kenya Leldet Ltd. Ms. Janey Leakey 2008
Machakos, Kenya Dryland Seeds Limited Mr. Ngila Kimotho 2008
Arusha, Tanzania Zanobia Seeds Mr. Rajinder Mand 2003
Njombe, Tanzania Tanseed International Mr. Isaka Mashauri 2005
Arusha, Tanzania Subra Agro Trading Mr. Mahenye Muya 2003
Mbeya, Tanzania Highland Seed Growers Mr. Justine Mwiga 2006
Bamako, Mali Faso Kaba Ms. Maimouna Coulibaly 2008
Blantyre, Malawi Seed–Tech Mr. Frank Samidu 2006
Blantyre, Malawi Funwe Farm Ltd. Mr. Jon Lane 2006
Harare, Zimbabwe Pristine Seeds Mr John Makoni 2003
Harare, Zimbabwe Agri Seeds and Services Mr. Walter Chigodora 2006
Lusaka, Zambia Hygrotech Mr. Chola Kimaki 2006
Ruwa, Zimbabwe Tropical Seeds Mr. Vincent Gwarazimba 2005
Lusaka, Zambia Hygrotech Mr. Rene Lourens 2006
Lusaka, Zambia MRI Seeds Mr. Vladimir Ristanovic 2003
Lusaka, Zambia Kamano Seeds Mr. Dis Horemans 2005
Zambia & Zimbabwe Progene Seeds Mr. Andrew Henderson 2006
Chimoio, Mozambique Qualita Mr. Bernhard Van Dyk 2005
Chimoio, Mozambique Semente Perfeita Mr. David Mariote 2006

SoDP Reports

SoDP publishes internal annual reports as well as other reports relevant to Africa’s seed industry. Click on the links below to see these reports:


Capacity Building Training Needs for Africa’s Seed Sector


SoDP Annual Report 2011


SoDP Annual Report 2010



SoDP 2008 Annual Report

“Output to Purpose Review: Seeds of Development Program” (External Review)


SoDP 2007 Annual Report


SoDP 2006 Annual Report


SoDP 2005 Annual Report


SoDP 2004 Annual Report