ABCIC to participate in the pilot phase of ISSD Africa project

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ABCIC will soon initiate a short term project under the framework of the piloting phase of the Integrated Seed Sector Development Project Africa which aims to support the development of a market-oriented,pluralistic,vibrant and dynamic seed sector in Africa for providing smaller holder farmers access to quality seed of superior local and improved varieties.Currently,smallholder farmers face challenges in getting reliable access to sufficient quantities of quality seed of superior varieties at the right time and at an affordable price,which affects their agricultural productivity,income and resilience.

The piloting phase of ISSD Africa is funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Dutch Government.It is led by the Royal Tropical Institute and the Center for Development Innovation,Netherlands.The project will experiment with and explore ways to address four themes defined by complex challenges that hamper seed sector development at local or national levels.It will operate in a niche that compliments the work of national seed programmes and will recognize complex national realities,learn lessons from a diversity of intervention strategies and feed these into international dialogues.The project will focus on the following four themes:(1) Common challenges to promoting entrepreneurship in seed value chain;(2) Access to varieties in public domain;(3) Matching global commitments with national realities; and (4) Supporting the AUC CAADP,ASBP and seed sector development.

The project seeks collaboration with a wide range of existing national seed programmes,to work on these four themes; in this way action learning activities are grounded in local realities among dissimilar strategies to seed sector development.Themes will be addressed through action learning,innovation trajectories,policy dialogues,capacity strengthening,and joint learning in eight to ten countries with relevant stakeholders and partners.The project will facilitate the establishment of an African-wide learning and innovation network of experts,seed programmes and associated organizations.The project will contribute to creating an enabling structure and a favorable environment for experimenting,documenting,sharing and learning,enhancing collaboration and promoting synergy in seed sector development.

ABCIC will contribute to Theme 2 on "Access to varieties in the public domain" and will lead the implementation of ALP1 and will address the question,"How do farmers get information and provide feedback on varieties in the public domain"building upon experience of a previous project on reintroduction of farmers varieties from gene banks to farming systems for climate change adaptation using crowd sourcing as one of the strategies.The pilot projects will be implemented in Makueni and Nyando in Kenya and the partners will include Biodiversity International,Future Agriculture Consortium,Genetic Resources Research Institute and the County Governments Research and Extension teams.A training and action learning workshop was therefore held in Kampala from 9-13th February to discuss implementation modalities.The project is due to start in April 2015.