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.
THE SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES OF THE SODP ARE TO:
– 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 publishes internal annual reports as well as other reports relevant to Africa’s seed industry. Click on the links below to see these reports: