Seed systems research is central to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Improved varieties with promise for ending hunger, improving nutrition, and increasing livelihood security may be released, but how do they reach and benefit different types of farmers? Without widespread adoption the genetic gains achieved with improved crop varieties can never be actualized. Progress has been made toward demand responsive breeding, however the draft CGIAR 2030 Research and Innovation Strategy fails to recognize the complexity of seed systems and thus presents a narrow vision for the future of seed systems research. This points to the lack of evidence-based dialogue between seed systems researchers and breeders. This paper:
- Emphasizes the importance of seed systems research in attaining sustainable development, specifically through improved crop varieties and their adoption.
- Seeks to answer pertinent questions, such as how we tailor seed systems to ensure varieties get to the hands of last mile farmers.
- Draws attention to the complexity of seed systems and the need for further research that links researchers, breeders and national actors.
For further reading on this topic:
- Informal Seed Traders: The Backbone of Seed Business and African Smallholder Seed Supply
- Bangladesh: the importance of farmers’ seed systems and the roles of Community Seed Wealth Centers
- Gender and Social Seed Networks for Climate Change Adaptation: Evidence from Bean, Finger Millet, and Sorghum Seed Systems in East Africa
- Accelerating the Delivery of Quality Seed from Breeding Investments Made by the Crops to End Hunger Initiative through Economically Sustainable Seed Systems