The KMT Seed Team is leading and facilitating joint discussions between Kenyan crop seed companies and Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KARLO) to increase commercialisation of other crop seeds beyond maize.
A formal joint working group has been formed, consisting of 11 seed companies and 10 representatives from KALRO. The impetus for the work came from the joint recognition that food security in Kenya is declining. Both KALRO and the seed companies believe that increased production and sales of high quality crop seed can make a significant contribution to solving the problem of food insecurity.
Aside from maize and wheat, seed volumes for other crops are alarmingly low. Because of this, farmers have little or no access to seed of important crops such as common beans, Irish potato, sorghum, or green grams.
The commercialization working group has agreed to initially focus on understanding and proposing solutions to the challenges around variety licensing, royalties, and access to parental seed – the special seed from breeders which is needed by seed companies in order to produce the seed that can be sold to farmers.
At present, the KMT Seed Team is working with both KALRO and the seed companies on a situation assessment – a common understanding of the facts underlying the lack of strong commercialization – so that working group members can effectively develop solutions with strong support from both government and the private sector. The working group’s goal is to develop recommended solutions before year end.