Promoting stress-tolerant varieties at scale: Interlinking the private seed sector and insurance-advisory services in Kenya


Smallholder farmers require innovative solutions to mitigate the consequences of increasing climatic risks. This project investigates how different types of market actors in high-quality seed systems can promote their clients’ adaptive capacity by interlinking stress-tolerant varieties with innovative financial and advisory services that help resolve key barriers to adoption, targeting particularly female farmers and youths. Specifically, we propose testing the impacts of bundling seeds with innovative picture-based crop insurance and advisory services that leverage smartphone technology to provide comprehensive yet affordable risk management solutions. We will facilitate—through knowledge sharing, capacity building and research uptake activities—the scaling of these services. We hypothesize that bundling seeds with such services helps improve effectiveness and trust in seed quality, while also minimizing the (often perceived) risks around adopting such seed varieties—thereby potentially unlocking further agricultural investments. In the first two years, we test these hypotheses by means of a randomized trial with 6,000 farmers in which different types of seed market actors promote a stress-tolerant seed variety either in isolation (control) or bundled with 1) a high-quality comprehensive picture-based insurance product; 2) a personalized picture-based advisory service; 3) a combination of the two. We will analyse whether impacts differ depending on the type of seed provider, including an incumbent seed company, a smaller private seed company, and a national agricultural research centre, with potentially more inclusive distribution channels to reach women and the youth. The project will build on findings from past seed systems interventions in Kenya, including the DTMA project and ACRE’s Replanting Guarantee scheme, and the project will leverage existing initiatives including KALRO’s Digital Hub for Agriculture, to facilitate a nationwide scale-up of key findings and lessons learnt with the different types of seed providers in the third year.



W 08.240.102


Dr. B. Kramer

Verbonden aan

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)


Mr. B. Akuku, Prof. dr. ir. E.H. Bulte, Dr. F. Cecchi, R.K.M. Kisilu MSc, Dr. B. Kivuva, Dr. P. Leley, Prof. dr. R. Lensink, J. Oyoo


01/04/2019 tot 31/01/2022