Seed Systems Group, through a partnership led by Cornell University’s Innovation Lab for Crop Improvement, has received funding from USAID’s Feed the Future initiative to help develop local systems for the supply of improved, climate-resilient seed in Haiti and Sénégal.
ILCI is currently supporting national crop breeding initiatives in Haiti through Quisqueya University and in Senegal through the Institut Sénégalais de Récherches Agricoles (ISRA). The newly-funded set of activities will allow the initiative to reach farmers through local, sustainable seed supply channels involving local, private seed producers, groups of women farmers, and the supply of small sample packs of improved seed.
The initiative will drive investment in three primary areas which lie downstream from standard crop breeding activities, including:
- Farmer-participatory crop breeding and early-generation seed supply,
- The establishment and growth of private seed enterprises, and
- Broadly raising farmer awareness of the value of improved crop varieties.
Women have critical roles in seed selection, dissemination, and sale in both countries. Addressing the gender dimensions of the seed value chain will therefore be embedded in the research process.
Haiti and Senegal are an ocean apart, geographically, but share a common dependency on rain-fed, smallholder agriculture to supply the bulk of their food and income. Climate change has likewise had negative effects on both countries – as droughts in Senegal and more frequent and devastating storms in Haiti. Efforts aimed at improving food security have made meaningful investments in the institutions and science needed to increase the productivity of their farmers, and both are likewise open to private sector-driven solutions to poverty and under-nutrition.
SSG will provide technical assistance and oversight through its team of experts with vast experience in crop breeding, development of African seed systems, and raising farmer awareness of the value of improved seed.
Seed Systems Group is excited to partner with ILCI, Quisqueya University, and ISRA in this initiative to develop sustainable seed supply systems to improve food security and livelihoods of small holder farmers.