Economic Cooperation and Development
International Seed Testing Association

Good seeds make a happy farmer

Seed is life and it forms the foundation of high yields and incomes. Producing high-quality seeds of various crop varieties and increasing access to smallholder farmers and educating them about the benefits are central to improving food security.

Good quality seeds of the improved varieties are the cornerstone of crop productivity since they are a greater incentive to use better fertiliser, weeding on time, spraying chemicals against pests and diseases and investment in irrigation.

In Kenya, although there is a more developed seed systems with large number of seed companies selling certified seeds, they only account for less than 30 per cent (quarter) of national seed requirements and the remaining 70 per cent coming from farmer-saved seeds, which include beans, millets, cuttings and groundnuts, among others.

To reverse this trend and increase quality seed availability, there is need to better access to released improved varieties; increase seed production through government strategic institutions; increase private sector participation; decrease regulation of self-pollinated seeds (legalising standard seed or Quality Declared Seed (QDS) and increase research and development in seed system and innovation for rapid variety release to markets, especially in rural and asals areas.

However, in Kenya the seed industry has grown tremendously over the years from a single seed company in early 1980’s to the current over 120 companies after the liberalisation of the industry in the 1990s.

This is undertaken through adoption of international standards and procedures such as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) seed scheme standards/procedures for field inspection and the International Seed Testing Association’s (ISTA) standards/procedure’s for seed sampling and testing.

They should grow recommended crop varieties developed and suitable to their regions. To get the recommended maize/bean, wheat/barley or any variety for their, they need to text name of crop e.g maize, their division in Kenya

When ripe, a dry fruit will open and let the seeds out; a fleshy fruit will have to be digested by animals or have to get rotten before seeds can be released.

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