Development Options for Local Seed Systems in Mozambique
D Rohrbach and D Kiala

Large quantities of free or subsidized seed have been distributed to small-scale farmers in Mozambique under postwar resettlement and drought/flood relief programs. A joint study by ICRISAT and World Vision assessed the impact of relief seed distribution, the adoption of new varieties distributed through relief programs, and the performance of local seed systems.

 

While there was undoubtedly a need for well-targeted emergency assistance, seed losses associated with war, drought, and floods appear to have been overestimated. Village seed systems are remarkably efficient in meeting seed requirements and maintaining varietal diversity, even under drought or flood conditions. However, there remains scope for improving household seed selection and storage practices.

 

In addition, sustainable seed supply systems (both community-level and commercial) are needed to improve the access of small-scale farmers to new varieties. Despite the massive demand for seed for public distribution efforts, domestic production capabilities remain small, and most seed is still imported. The problems include shortages of breeder seed, poor market infrastructure, high marketing costs, uncertainty about levels of commercial seed demand, and farmer dependence on free seed. Specific recommendations are offered for strengthening both local and commercial seed supply systems in Mozambique.