Journal of Crop Improvement Published online: 20 April 2017, 22 pages
Facilitating farmers’ access to quality seed requires proper understanding of the functioning of seed systems. This study aimed at analyzing soybean seed systems in Benin to pave the way for strengthening this sector.
The research approach consisted of desk research, focus group discussions, individual interviews and validation workshop with stakeholders involved in soybean seed systems.
The findings revealed that despite the existence of an institutional and organizational framework, the formal soybean seed system is not at all functioning.
- Farmers mainly relied on informal seed system through self-saved seed and seed purchase in the markets.
- There is an emerging soybean seed system led by NGOs and farmers’ organizations.
- Current soybean seed systems are ineffective in timely supplying desired soybean varieties to farmers.
Creation of enabling environment to attract private investment and develop local seed businesses is proposed along with new organizational arrangements among stakeholders.
In the short term, priority should be given to introduction of new varieties along with implementation of participatory varietal selection to raise farmers’ awareness about the use of improved varieties and good quality seed. Concomitantly, training of farmers in seed production and managerial skills have been suggested to strengthen the informal system and gradually integrate both formal and informal systems in the mid-term. In the long term, individual or farmers’ cooperative involved in the seed business are expected to emerge as local private seed enterprises and develop a vertical integration with other farmers. Other private operators can also integrate and operate within the system.