IRRI facilitates agreement between KALRO and Advanta Seeds International in efforts to enhance access to seeds of improved rice varieties in Africa
In many African countries, rice consumption outstrips production, which leads to huge imports to meet local demand. One of the key challenges affecting the rice sector in the region today is the lack of efficient seed production and delivery systems that would encourage wider use of quality seed of improved, climate resilient, and high-yielding varieties. Developing a competitive formal seed sector will ensure the timely availability of quality seeds of new varieties at affordable prices, particularly to smallholder farmers. Public-Private-Partnerships (PPP) are critical for the seed sector in developing countries because, unlike the private sector, investment by public institutions in productivity-enhancing agricultural systems is low because of their limited capacity and other priorities.
The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) has been at the forefront of catalyzing public-private partnerships by initiating negotiations between various entities in the seed value chain to break existing barriers. On 15 February 2023, Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) and Advanta Seeds International (Advanta) signed a licensing agreement after several months of consultations. The license provides Advanta non-exclusive rights to producing and distributing certified seeds of the variety IR 05N221, named ‘ Komboka ‘ , in Kenya, through their production and distribution network. In the current context, Advanta will obtain basic seeds of the IR 05N221 variety from KALRO and subsequently produce and market certified seed of the variety starting the 2023 rice growing season in Kenya. The International Rice Research Institute facilitated discussions between the two institutions to come to an agreement on objectives, roles, responsibilities, and incentives pertaining to each of the two institutions. KALRO is a semi-autonomous government institution in Kenya whose mandate includes streamlining, promoting, coordinating, and regulating research in crops including rice. On the other hand, Advanta, a subsidiary of Indian…