Certified seed fetches twice the market rate: Farmers hitch onto seed production
Growing certified improved seed of millets and legumes is a profitable business enterprise for farmer cooperatives in Mali. Improved seed summon twice the market rate and the turnover is so high that existing storage facilities can accommodate only a quarter of the production. Increased farmer incomes from seed production and as well as increased yields on farms from using quality seed has benefited the community at large leading to greater food security, reduced migration and increased women entrepreneurship.
The production of cereals is critical for food security in Mali. Cereals account for around 80% of the cultivated area according to a recent study. Among legumes, groundnut and cowpea are important crops grown for home consumption and markets. Availability of quality seed of improved varieties had been a major constraint in the region. To overcome the problem, farmer organizations in Mali are investing in seed production of crops like sorghum, millet, groundnut and cowpea and equipping their members to become certified seed producers. Initiatives like these that started during the HOPE II1 project are continuing through AVISA2. Continued project interventions and training programs for a substantial period has resulted in significant gains for farmers.