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Performance of direct seed marketing pilot program in Ethiopia: Lessons for scaling-up

Leulsegged Kasa Mekonen, Nicholas Minot (), James Warner and Gashaw Abate

No 132, ESSP working papers from International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Abstract: This study evaluates the impact in the main cropping season of 2015 of a new approach to the distribution of improved seed in Ethiopia, known as Direct Seed Marketing (DSM). Under DSM, seed producers are allowed to sell seed directly to farmers, in contrast to the conventional seed marketing (CSM) system in which seed passes from seed producers to regional Bureaus of Agriculture to woreda Agricultural Offices to Development Agents, cooperative unions, and primary cooperatives, who, in turn, sell the seed to farmers. The study is based on a survey of 800 farmers, 118 agricultural extension workers, 75 seed sellers, and 24 seed producers in Amhara, Oromia, Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples (SNNP), and Tigray regions. The performance of the DSM program in 2015 was evaluated on eight criteria: seed availability, sufficiency of supply, timeliness of delivery, seed pricing, quality, ensuring accountability for low-quality seed, ease of purchase, and use of public resources. The results indicate that DSM had heterogeneous effects across the different regions, showing the need to strengthen the sharing of experiences with the program across the regions of Ethiopia to scale up DSM’s benefits. However, when we consider the overall DSM program without regional disaggregation, the DSM and CSM systems do not differ significantly on most of the eight criteria, although DSM required significantly less of the time of the farmer-level agricultural extension agents, the Development Agents. DSM performed as well as CSM across the eight criteria examined, while requiring 39 percent less time for the involvement the Development Agents. Farmers’ subjective views of DSM were quite positive. On most criteria, 50 to 65 percent of farmers said DSM performed “better” or “much better” than CSM. The study also identifies specific areas where the performance of DSM needs to be improved. A review of international experience with seed systems is used to provide some additional recommendations regarding the longer-term development of seed systems in Ethiopia.

Keywords: ETHIOPIA; EAST AFRICA; AFRICA SOUTH OF SAHARA; AFRICA; crops; seed production; agricultural extension; seed quality; seed availabilty; seed systems; seed price (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr
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Handle: RePEc:fpr:esspwp:132