Integrated Seed Sector Development in Africa (ISSD Africa)

Smallholders in Africa need to have access to affordable quality seeds. The Integrated Seed Sector Development in Africa project assesses critical factors of the seed sector in the continent and offers innovative solutions that respond to the diversity of needs of African smallholders, bringing together the assets of informal, intermediary and formal seed systems. Through its existing seed sector related engagement, SDC is well placed to support policies at country and African Union levels.

Paese/Regione Tema Periodo Budget
Agricoltura e sicurezza alimentare
Sviluppo agricolo
Ricerca agricola
Politica agricola
01.08.2018 - 31.08.2022
CHF  2’157’000

Lack of access to quality seed of local and improved varieties is one of the main issues hindering productivity increase in Africa.

Seed sector development efforts in Africa have almost entirely been based on the European model of breeding, seed certification, commercial seed multiplication and marketing by seed enterprises. This approach has fallen short in delivering inclusive access to quality seed to the diversity of African farmers.

Integrated Seed Sector Development (ISSD) offers an alternative mode of thinking and operating to develop seed sectors that respond to the diversity of needs of African farmers, women and men, and are tailored to national realities. It cherishes the diversity of systems and pathways by which seed of different crops is produced, exchanged, and used for and by farmers with different needs. ISSD recognizes the value of formal, intermediary and informal seed systems.


Improved access to affordable, diverse and adapted seed varieties for smallholders through improved integrated seed systems.

This is expected to lead to increased livelihood resilience with higher farm income, improved food and nutrition security and the sustainable use of agrobiodiversity and ecosystems.

Gruppi target

The primary target group of ISSD Africa are seed sector professionals and policy makers in Africa, at national and at continental levels.

The ultimate beneficiaries are the seed users, especially smallholder farmers, women and men, across the African continent that benefit from improved seed sectors due to the integration of ISSD Africa derived insights.

Effetti a medio termine
  • Africa-grown solutions to complex seed sector challenges developed
  • Integration of ISSD Africa derived insights in seed sector interventions and seed sector policies supported
  • Enabling structure for the effective management and facilitation of the community of practice of seed sector professionals operational

Risultati principali attesi:  

  • Eight action learning projects implemented and synthesis papers developed (Developing the seed sector in fragile states; Effective seed insecurity response; Agrobiodiversity, seed and climate change; Enabling seed policies; Enhancing seed quality assurance; Business models for early generation seed; Creating demand for quality seed; Gender dynamics in seed systems)
  • International policy dialogues facilitated
  • International management unit and African support units operational and action learning projects supported

Risultati fasi precedenti:  

2014 – 2017, without SDC participation:

  • Nine synthesis papers published (e.g. the support for farmer-led seed systems in African seed laws; Making business out of low-profit seed; Access and benefit-sharing policies for climate-resilient seed systems), presented and discussed in ten national and three international workshops

2018 – 2019, entry phase with SDC participation:

  • Eight action learning projects elaborated
  • ISSD Africa partnership and management structure built and formalized

Direzione/Ufficio responsabile DSC
Credito Cooperazione allo sviluppo
Partner del progetto Partner contrattuale
Instituzione universitaria e di ricerca straniera
  • Other Academic Research North

Coordinamento con altri progetti e attori

Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), Africa Seeds, Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development, Mercy Corps, CGIAR Centres

SDC Global Programme Food Security: Improving seed systems for smallholder farmers’ food security;

SDC East and Southern Africa Division: Strengthening Agro-Biodiversity in Southern Africa, Pan African Bean Research Alliance (PABRA); and

SDC West Africa Division: Opérationnalisation de la filière semencière au Tchad

Budget Fase in corso Budget Svizzera CHF    2’157’000 Budget svizzero attualmente già speso CHF    1’690’493 Progetto totale dalla prima fase Budget Svizzera CHF   267’000 Budget inclusi partner del progetto CHF   3’960’000
Fasi del progetto Fase 99 01.03.2023 - 31.07.2026   (Active) Fase 1 01.08.2018 - 28.02.2023   (Fase in corso)