High quality seed is a fundamental prerequisite for sustainable increase of agricultural productivity and production. Seed quality determines crop yield potential and the return of investment on land, labor and capital. Therefore, access to quality seed is essential towards reducing food insecurity and increasing income. However, sustainable access to quality seed of improved varieties is still a challenge for agricultural development. For decades, most smallholder farmers in developing countries, mainly sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), heavily rely on non-improved and auto-saved seed of obsolete variety, accounting for about 80% of their planting material.
In 2019, ICRISAT through the Accelerated Varietal Improvement and Seed Delivery of Legumes and Cereals in Africa (AVISA) project designed and rolled out a sustainable seed production and delivery strategy involving diverse actors to strengthen the seed systems in target East and Southern Africa countries (Tanzania, Ethiopia and Uganda), and West and Central Africa (Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana). In Tanzania, the program is working with six seed companies to produce and avail foundation and certified seed of groundnut and sorghum across the country (Lima Africa Ltd, Mbozi Highlands Ltd, Alssem Ltd, Agriseeds Ltd, Temnar Ltd, and DASPA) in addition to seed production and delivery work with the public seed company Agricultural Seed Agency (ASA).