Solving the “last mile” challenge of maize seeds

Agrodealers play a pivotal role in delivering the gains of the green revolution to millions of smallholders in Africa. Reaching even the most remote corners of the continent, they give farmers access to agricultural inputs and services.

So far, seed systems research has mainly focused on the factors influencing farmers’ adoption of or seed companies’ investment in new varieties. However, little is known about independent agrodealers, who play an important role in the “last mile” of seed systems, distributing improved maize seeds and fertilizers as well as giving agronomic advice. There is a gap of knowledge about who they are, their needs and constraints, and the ways in which they secure and develop their businesses.

Understanding how to better support agrodealers is important for the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), to ensure that new varieties reach the largest possible number of farmers. Under the Stress Tolerant Maize for Africa (STMA) project, CIMMYT has launched a new research effort to better understand agrodealers in Kenya, with a specific focus on maize seed marketing.