Kickstarting change in West-African seed systems

Demonstration and training on small and affordable manual planter in Ghana.

Two NL-CGIAR projects in West-Africa, focusing on tilapia and peanut farming, are aimed at improving livelihoods and markets in the region. The projects are facing similar challenges, from genetics and market economics to policy and social inclusion. Their approach has been a success so far, building on partnerships with research institutes and the private sector. "It’s challenging, but also highly fascinating."

From cocoa and tilapia in Ghana to cassava in Rwanda, and from chickens in Ethiopia to vegetables in Laos and Vietnam: the past two years have seen a range of remarkable projects across Africa and Southeast Asia. These nine international projects, running between 2019 and 2022, aim at improving seed systems in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa from public to private sector. They hereby aim to also improve nutrition, health, and social and environmental sustainability among local communities. Funded by the Netherlands and administered through NWO-WOTRO Science for Global Development, these projects are coordinated through various partners, including CGIAR.

“The improvement of seed systems lies at the core of many of these projects”, says Catherine Ragasa of the International Food Policy Research Institute, a CGIAR institute. She leads a project aimed at enhancing aquaculture in Ghana. “Tilapia farming has been a promising sector in Ghana for some time now, but there is a huge demand and only limited supply. Aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector worldwide, and it has the potential to greatly improve nutrition, employment and environmental sustainability in West-Africa.”
Achieving these aspirations, however, calls for significant improvements relating to the quality of fish seeds and access to them. Other important success factors are the inclusion of women and youth and the development of new markets. Ragasa: “Our project is aimed at all of these aspects.”

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