2020 in review

2020 has been an unusual year with the impact of COVID-19 not only on health and health systems but also on food security and livelihoods. If anything positive can be said to have come from the pandemic, it is the increased focus of Africa’s governments on basic needs – first and foremost on food supply,

COVID-19 Worsens Africa’s Seed Supply Challenges

“Just get us the seed. The rest — we can do it ourselves,” he said, and down the road he went.  The appeal came from a small-scale rice farmer in Sevaré, Mali. He had just bought a bag of fertilizer and was loading it on his donkey outside an input supply shop. I had told him about

Africa’s Food Supply Challenges During COVID-19

Like, I suspect, many agriculturalists working in Africa, when the extent of the COVID-19 pandemic first became apparent I couldn’t suppress a gut reaction along the lines of: “Oh no, people here are going to go hungry”.  My mind sped through a series images of knock-on effects of a virus spreading to all corners of

Small-scale Farmers Key to Ensuring Food Supply Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic

Seed Systems Group’s (SSG’s) unwavering commitment to assisting over 38 million small-holder farmers in the furthest reaches of Africa is affirmed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant disruption of food production and supply chains caused by restricted movements and social distancing, affecting access to local markets and availability of labor. Cooperation and collaboration with


I was welcomed to Madagascar by Mr. Mbosa Rabenasola, agronomist and agricultural consultant who has long promoted the role of both research and the private sector in achieving a Malgasy Green Revolution.  Mbosa, as he is known, had come highly recommended to us by Justin Rakotoarisaona, Secretary General of AFSTA, the African Seed Trade Association,

Sierra Leone

Located on the western coast of Africa, Sierra Leone is known for its beautiful, white-sand beaches lining the Freetown Peninsula. Leaving those asides for the time-being, I and Dr. Vithal Karoshi from the Cornell/Sathguru consortium embarked on a weeklong visit to learn about the seed systems of the country. We came to learn that Sierra


Driving with our host and national consultant, Mr Ibrahima Diallo, from the capital city of Conakry to the agricultural research station of Koba, situated 150km further North, in maritime or lower Guinea, what strikes a newcomer like myself is the natural beauty, tropical forest, and of course you get just a glimpse of the plentiful


Angolan agriculture can perhaps best be described as a sleeping giant.  Prior the outbreak of civil war in 1975, Angola exported serious tonnages of maize and other grains.  Sadly, today, a full 18 years after the cessation of hostilities, smallholder agriculture is still highly undeveloped, largely due to failed policies which favored large-scale production up


Scanning the countryside from 30,000 feet on the flight from Addis Ababa to Asmara toward the end of the growing season, I was struck by the progressive shift from a green landscape to a paler shade of green, and finally yellow as we came in to land.  Eritrea’s agro-ecologies are quite varied, like most African

Côte d’Ivoire

With all of its natural advantages in the area of agriculture (central location in West Africa, strong research capacity, long history of private sector involvement, and very favorable agro-ecologies for the production of a wide range of crops), one might expect Côte d’Ivoire to be well-advanced in the development of its seed systems.  Côte d’Ivoire