A compelling case for seed enterprises as a tool for rural development in the smallholder farming sector

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Upenyu Mazarura
Brighton Mvumi


This study analysed the community seed business developed by the Seeds and Markets Project (SAMP) managed by GRM International. The community seed business developed was named Zaka Super Seeds and was later named Zimbabwe Super Seeds as it grew to serve areas beyond a single district. Our analysis showed the immense potential for a profitable community seed enterprise managed commercially. The amount of seed produced and processed by the enterprise rose from 26Mt to 151Mt in three cropping seasons. The enterprise supplied seed that commercial companies shunned, like cowpeas, sugar beans, and small grains. Local seed production offered farmers more income compared to growing commodity crops, for example maize seed sold for US$305 more per tonne than grain. Local seed supply was improved by the development of the community seed business. The multi-stakeholder approach used by SAMP made the business more sustainable. The community seed business, which now has agro dealers across the whole country, provides insight for future development programmes related to the seed industry.

Key words: community seed enterprise, certified seed, cowpeas, smallholder seed production, sugar beans, Zimbabwe

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