New seed plan to allow monopoly, equitable distribution

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A new proposal being prepared by Ministry of Agriculture would allow private companies or government enterprises to be the sole producer and distributor of a single type of seed. The seed would be developed by the Ethiopian Agricultural Research Institute (ARI).
Currently any government or private company can buy seeds from ARI and multiply and sell them to the farmers and this has created unfair competition among the sellers.
Under the new plan one company will have a monopoly over a specific type of seed that they would obtain from ARI and then promote and sell. The seed producers would have to spend their own money advertising the seed. Feleke Gezahagn, Ethiopian Seed Supply Chain Director told Capital that the system will be more fair and will help farmers get the seeds they need on time.
Both public and private seed producers mainly concentrate on a few cereal crops, particularly hybrid maize and bread wheat. Moreover, they supply only a small portion of the total quantity of seed that farmers need. Thus, they do not satisfy the diversified seed demand of farmers so if we allow a specific seed for specific company we can distribute most of the seeds the farmers want,” he said.
In Ethiopia, various actors and stakeholders are involved in seed production activities. All these actors and stakeholders, in one way or another, contribute to production, promotion, supply and marketing of improved seed in the country. Studies show that only a small area of land is covered by improved seed, however… In Improving farmers’ access to seed empowering farmers’ innovation., between 2005/6 and 2009/10, only 3.5% of the land was planted with improved seed out of a total of 12 million hectares of land under major food crops. However, the total amount of improved seed used and the area of farmland covered by improved seed have increased during recent years.
The private sector has made some initial forays into Ethiopia’s seed industry during the past decade, and more specifically into the maize seed business.
The volume of seed production by private producers increased from 4994.1 tons in 2012/13 to 9819.2 tons in 2014/15. More specifically, the contribution of private producers is higher for hybrid maize seed production and distribution.
Seed producer cooperatives play a key role in the Ethiopian seed sector. They produce quality seeds of diversified crops and varieties and directly sell to customers locally and beyond. For example, in 2014 alone, more than 23 different crops and 131 varieties were produced by them
Currently five government and 60 private companies are engaged in seed production and sales.