An estimation of grain legume seed system efficiency in developing countries

Maereka, Enock Kuziwa
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Despite changes in agricultural policies, particularly shifts towards liberalization of seed sectors in developing countries, smallholder farmers persistently cite access to quality seeds as a major constraint to raising production volume and productivity, especially for grain legumes. Yet, current food production needs to nearly double to feed the rapidly growing world population. Also, agriculture is expected to lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and undernutrition in the developing world. These challenges are further compounded by diminishing natural resources and increased frequencies of climate-change associated weather extremes. Plant breeders have developed varieties for these extremes, but still need robust seed delivery systems to ensure positive impacts on millions of smallholder farmers. Unlike maize seed systems that have experienced tremendous gains over the past decades, grain legume seed systems have remained rudimentary and continue to face numerous demand-and supply-related challenges. Out of the various legume seed delivery models currently available, it is imperative to identify and prioritize the most efficient ones for cost effective outcomes given the limited financial resources faced by developing countries. There is a general dearth of knowledge, methodologies and understanding of the parameters to monitor in this regard. This paper presents an overview of current metrics to measure performance of the seed systems in general while proffering a number of weighted indicators to holistically assess efficiency of grain legume seed systems in developing countries.

efficiency indicators, seed access, seed quality, sustainability, smallholder farmers, legume production