Seed Systems Support in Kenya: Consideration for an Integrated Seed Sector Development Approach

  •  Peter Munyi    
  •  Bram De Jonge    


The threats of climate change and rising food prices have stirred renewed attention for seed and food security in Africa, inviting new thinking on the role of seed sector development in coping with these concerns. One conceptual framework that has gained attention is the Integrated Seed Sector Development (ISSD) approach. The ISSD approach has evolved as a response to the almost exclusive focus on formal seed systems in seed sector development programs. Instead, ISSD aims to recognize and support all the diverse seed systems that exist in a particular country. An analysis of the evolution of seed policies and regulatory frameworks in Kenya since independence indeed exposes a continuous support for the formal seed sector while support given to the informal sector has merely been intended to transform it into formal. In reality, however, the formal and informal sectors appear to be made up of a plurality of seed systems, with the informal seed systems being the main source of seed for most crops. The article continues with analysing some of Kenya’s recent policy shifts in order to explore how its new seed policy and legislative framework may fit within ISSD principles, and concludes with some recommendations on how the variety of seeds systems that exists on the ground and in particular local seed systems can be supported.

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