Developments, bottlenecks, and opportunities in seed markets for improved forages in East Africa: The case of Kenya

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Cattle farming plays a pivotal role in Africa’s agricultural and livestock sector, poised for growth due to population expansion and rising per capita consumption of animal-sourced food. Forages are a primary source of feed for dairy cattle, significantly impacting production costs. While local forage varieties are preferred by dairy farmers, there has been an increase in the adoption of improved forages in recent years. However, the overall adoption rate is still low, for example, due to underdeveloped forage seed markets.

This study describes the dynamics, challenges, and potential of these markets in Kenya and selected East African countries, focusing on (i) market evolution over the past decade, (ii) forthcoming market prospects, and (iii) bottlenecks and opportunities for improvement. Data were gathered in 2022 through qualitative interviews with stakeholders representing six segments of the forage seed sector across six countries.

We found a sustained growth of the improved forage seed market in recent years. The main challenges for further growth are high seed prices, regulatory difficulties, and limited producer knowledge.

The findings unveil positive dynamics in the region’s forage seed market, fueled by the engagement and determination of stakeholders who recognize the manifold benefits that it holds for both the dairy industry and economic growth. The realization of this market’s potential requires addressing prevailing challenges, including elevated seed costs, intricate variety registration processes, and a pervasive lack of awareness among farmers.

Florez, J.F.; Karimi, P.; Paredes, J.J.; Ángel, N.T.; Burkart, S.

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