Private sector in agricultural innovation and development

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How to tackle the challenges for seed system changes? High level international multi-stakeholder workshop on Seed Systems Development

Key international and regional agrofood sector actors and investors were brought together for a workshop to explore seed systems challenges as well as opportunities for further collaboration in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 17 May 2019. Around 90 Ethiopian and international experts discussed how to jointly tackle major bottlenecks in the functioning of seed systems. Representatives of nine recently started “Seed Systems Development” research projects of the Netherlands-CGIAR partnership also took part. This workshop report, published on 28 June 2019 and also linking to full minutes of the meeting, covers the main proceedings and can be found here.

The participants considered that collaboration in public and private partnerships is key for progress in the seed system. Various institutions, companies and networks make their contribution to strengthening seed systems in Africa, Asia and other continents. CGIAR, for instance, is modernizing its portfolio of Research Programmes (CRPs) to make sure these deliver the right variety to the farmers; and it works in collaborative structures within CGIAR to address key systemic bottlenecks. Still, a gap remains in the flow from innovation to delivery. This is why CGIAR appreciates the recently started NL-CGIAR research projects, as they address exactly this gap. Further initiatives and partnerships by the private sector, such as the Syngenta Foundation, also play an important role as they can partner with seed entrepreneurs, and help introduce new varieties in countries and encourage other companies to invest. However, for some – often subsistence – crops it is difficult to get the private sector on board. This means a public-private partnership (PPP) approach is often required to make progress for crops that are less commercially viable.

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Sarah Cummings
2 July 2019

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