Kenyan seed companies outperform multinational peers in serving smallholder farmers – Report

the 2019 Access to Seeds Index for Eastern and Southern AfricaKenya’s East African Seed and Seed Co. have been ranked top for playing a key role in raising smallholder farmer productivity in the 2019 Access to Seeds Index for Eastern and Southern Africa.

The two were placed first and second respectively, they have grown their activities in the region since the first index was published in 2016.

“East African Seed stands out for its broad portfolio including local crops and large network of extension staff across multiple countries. Seed Co, originally from Zimbabwe but now headquartered in South Africa, is the African seed company with the most extensive breeding, production and sales network, and the widest geographic reach in agronomic training,” read the report.

“Two African seed companies at the top of the ranking is no surprise, given their deeper understanding of the region and the challenges smallholder farmers face. But Thailand’s East-West Seed in third place is eye-catching too, because it suggests they are transferring their know-how and experience with smallholders in Asia to Africa,” said Sanne Helderman, Senior Research Lead at the Access to Seeds Index.

“It shows also that these relatively small seed companies are ahead of larger multinational seed companies in integrating smallholder farmers into their business models.”

East African Seed topped the 2019 Index, two places higher than in 2016, attributed to its continuing robust access to seeds strategies and broad portfolio availability, clear improvements in its smallholder-focused research program and a growing dedicated pool of extension staff providing tailored training.

The Kenya Seed Company ranks at position 14 out of the 22 listed companies and is ranked favourably due to its research and development and marketing and sales capacity. The 2019 Index gives more weight to the extent of company activities in the region

Kenya Highland Seed features at position 16 with marketing and sales, capacity building and governance and strategy listed as its strengths.

The Access to Seeds Index 2019 is one of the first Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) benchmarks published by the World Benchmarking Alliance. The alliance was launched in September 2018 during the UN General Assembly in New York. The Access to Seeds Index was established with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Government of the Netherlands. The Access to Seeds Index for Eastern and Southern Africa focuses on 22 leading seed companies in this region.