Kick-off workshop of Seed System Development projects

of the Netherlands - CGIAR programme

28 June 2019

From 15-17 May nine research projects, funded in the call for proposals on Seed System Development of the NL-CGIAR research programme, came together for their joint kick-off meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The aim of the meeting was to identify cross-linkages and develop joint pathways to outcomes for the programme. Project partners from research, policy and practice took part in the kick-off meeting.

This internal meeting on Seed Systems Development with the nine research teams was organised by CGIAR, NWO-WOTRO, the Food & Business Knowledge Platform and AgriProFocus, and was followed by an international multi-stakeholder workshop on Seed Systems Development

>> Report of the internal learning day
>> Report of the multi-stakeholder workshop

Cross-cutting themes

The project teams got to know each other via an interactive poster session, where they also identified cross-cutting themes. These cross-cutting themes were: to connect with the private sector; nutrition; gender and youth; methodology;  certification; and the interaction and communication of learnings outside of project groups.

Research Uptake and stakeholder engagement

Research Uptake and stakeholder engagement as understood in the programme were presented to the participants. An integrated approach of co-design and co-creation by transdisciplinary teams employing a Theory of Change and Impact Pathway forms an integral part of the programme’s strategy towards impact. Early engagement with all stakeholders from the proposal development onwards is encouraged and facilitated by the set-up of the funding instrument.

The group also did an exercise on stakeholder mapping. The mapping visualises the alignment and interest of different stakeholders. Many of the teams found that alignment and interest are highest amongst the stakeholders that are already actively participating in the project. Some commented that they realised that it will be necessary to prioritise some key stakeholders over others and try to engage these more fully. The positioning of stakeholders can also change over time or within different work packages. Overall the visualisation of the relationship with stakeholders can help to identify an appropriate engagement strategy and can also facilitate discussions within the consortium.

Insights on seed systems

A thematic exchange on seed systems was introduced by Joe DeVries (CEO Seed Systems Group, former VP at AGRA), who presented his views and vision on the development of sustainable seed systems in Africa. Innovations were identified that can help scale seed supply:

  1. Develop capacity at national level, develop community of practice
  2. Approach seed supply for smallholder farmers
  3. Train African seed companies to produce high-quality seed, at scale, including hybrids – competitive business with multinationals also present in many countries
  4. Increase farmer awareness of the varieties
  5. Make sure farmers have local access to seed

Also, the projects elaborated on important lessons learned from working in the field, such as:

  1. PPP can work and should be taken further, but everyone needs a clear role
  2. Political goodwill is critical and can be nurtured
  3. There is huge untapped potential for SME growth in African agribusiness
  4. National agricultural research systems are a major, untapped source of innovation, women need to be included in the development and training
  5. Model needs to be introduced separately in each country, does not translate across borders

Seed System Development instrument of the NL-CGIAR partnership

The Netherlands - CGIAR research programme contributes to transformational change in agriculture around the world by advancing food system knowledge and joint public and private innovation. From 2017-2021, this programme is part of a cooperation agreement between the government of the Netherlands and the CGIAR System Organization.

Financing Seed Systems Development is one of four instruments in the Netherlands (NL) - CGIAR research programme. The aim of the call for proposals was to generate insights that contribute to improving ‘seed’ systems (including both plant and animal seed stock) in Asia and Sub-Sahara Africa.

Read further

>> Report of the internal learning day
>> Report of the multi-stakeholder workshop

Source: NWO