Feed the Future Global Supporting Seed Systems for Development (S34D)


Formal/Informal Seed Sector Publications


In developing countries, 80-90% of the farmers access their seed from the informal system, with intermediate and formal seed systems accounting for the remainder. International actors increasingly recognize the importance of bridging gaps between various seed systems to ensure that high quality, culturally appropriate, and resilient seed is available and accessible to farmers. S34D is increasingly working in the forage EGS production, forage seed production and densification of forages to improve livestock nutrition outcomes and further enhance food security. S34D is therefore works across formal and informal seed systems to: 

  • Characterize and profile formal and informal seed systems actors and customers 
  • Provide market and demand forecasting and cost estimation
  • Support seed production logistics to broaden crop portfolio 
  • Develop new market strategies with firms and informal actors to push out market frontiers 
  • Link seed producer organizations to agro-dealer networks
  • Develops online digital seed inspectors training with the regulator
  • DNA fingerprinting to assess genetic purity of seeds and planting materials
  • Conduct research on farmer adoption of new varieties and constraints to adoption
  • Facilitate regional seed harmonization protocols
  • Cultivate new business/financing models to support seed inventory and farmer buying options 
seed market

Informal Market and Seed Systems Analysis of the Bean and Cassava Value Chains in Eastern DRC: A Case of North and South Kivu Provinces

photo of agrodealer in front of shop

Report on Formal Seed Sector Key Informant Interviews in the Democratic Republic of Congo

bags of beans

Transforming Last Mile Seed Delivery: Case of High Iron Beans (HIBs) Niche Market Business Model in Lower Eastern Kenya - Second Season Study Report

photo of academic journal article

Strengths and weaknesses of organized crop seed production by smallholder farmers: A five-country case study


Strengths and weaknesses of organized crop seed production by smallholder farmer: A five-country case study

4 photos of people holding different types of seed

Uganda seed sector profile

woman preparing seed

The role of seed vouchers and fairs in promoting seed market development: opportunities and limitations

man outside agrodealer shop

Micro-Franchise Model for Last-Mile Seed Delivery in Kenya

man inside agrodealer shop

Review of Existing Last Mile Seed Delivery Models and Approaches

rows of beans in field

Transforming last mile seed delivery: case of high iron beans (HIBs) niche market business model in western Kenya

yellow beans ready for processing

Analysis of the Yellow Bean Corridor in Tanzania

man in seed van

S34D Existing and Potential Business Models on Last Mile Delivery of Seeds

women in FGD

Seed Storage Survey in Northern Tanzania

Emergency and Resilience Publications

woman holding bag at seed fair

Seed interventions have long served as a primary means of addressing agricultural challenges during emergency and resilience response programs. Such interventions tend to include either direct (e.g., direct seed distribution) or market-based (e.g., vouchers, cash, fairs) approaches. Despite their long history, there has historically been limited available evidence to suggest the ideal modality in specific emergency situations and the extent to which seed aid should be utilized as part of emergency and resilience programs. S34D is therefore examining this thematic area in the following ways: 

  • Conducting Emergency Seed System Security Assessments (SSSA) to identify seed constraints and best response interventions 
  • Developing tools to determine the effect of market-based humanitarian seed interventions to create linkages between buyers and sellers. 
  • Finding effective ways to enable vulnerable farmers to test improved varieties, and track quantities and movement of seeds, such as micro-packs 
  • Developing sustainable last mile seed business models and distribution networks to support highly vulnerable communities 
  • Analyzing cash versus voucher modalities and generate evidence regarding the impact or lack thereof of (cash, vouchers, fairs) seed interventions.
  • Gather evidence and develop best practices to limit free seed distribution to critical needs
farmers participate in ranking activity

Participatory impact assessment of selected emergency seed interventions: Synthesis report.

man if front of bags of quality declared seed

Participatory Impact Assessment of Lutheran World Federation Emergency Seed Interventions in Adjumani District, Northern Uganda

group of farmers sitting beneath tree, some of which are participating in a scoring activity

Participatory Impact Assessment of World Vision Emergency Seed Intervention in Adjumani District, Northern Uganda

seeds in large plastic containers in foreground, group of women and children behind them

Participatory Impact Assessment of CRS Ditekemena emergency seed interventions in Kasai Central Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo

woman holding seeds in hand

Contextual analysis of South Sudan’s seed sector and pathways for building to seed sector resilience

seed distribution center

Emergency Seed Interventions, Subsidies and Seed System Development

hand holding seeds

Seed and Market Systems of the Eastern DRC: A Fragile State Case Study

beans in bowls and a can

Seed Systems in Fragile States: Haiti Case Study

seed poured into bag at seed fair

Effects of Agricultural Input Fairs on Seed Markets: A Review

Guatemala DiNER fair

A Comparison of Voucher and Cash Transfer Modalities for Diversification in Nutrition and Enhanced Resilience (DiNER) Fairs in Guatemala

man holding vouchers

Assessment of Voucher Modality in CRS Nicaragua Seed Fairs

seed fair

Designing and implementing seed fairs to support ongoing seed market linkages: An experience from Eastern Uganda

woman in front of pile of maize

Review of practice and possibilities for market-led interventions in Emergency Seed Security Response

bags of seed at fair

Study on cash transfers for seed security in humanitarian settings

hand holding seeds over container of seeds

Diversity for Nutrition and Enhanced Resilience (DiNER) Fairs and Voucher Programming: Evaluation and Learning in the Southern Africa Region

hands holding seeds over a bag of seeds

Rapid Seed System Security Assessment (R-SSSA) - Pilot Evaluation Report

Seed Policy

hands holding seeds

Seed policy provisions and operational challenges in Ethiopia

wooden spoons holding seeds

Quality Declared Seed Mechanism in Ethiopia

variety of seeds and spices on wooden holders

Incentivizing Seed Companies to Expand Crop-Seed Portfolio: An Evaluative Learning

hands over seeds as part of quality check

Development and Comparison of Seed Regulatory Systems Maps in Ethiopia

photo of academic journal article

Using Regulatory Flexibility to Address Market Informality in Seed Systems: A Global Study

photo of hands holding seeds over bin

Using Regulatory Flexibility to Address Market Informality in Seed Systems: A Global Study

photo of the report

Seed policy landscape

woman hand-sowing seeds

Seed Demand Forecasting in Ethiopia- Assessment and Recommendations for a Technical Roadmap

hands over seeds as part of quality check

Seed policy and regulation is critical to ensuring the availability, access, and utilization of quality seed, impacting private sector participation, efficient and effective regulatory systems, and quality control. Given the unique policy and regulatory environments and needs of the countries S34D works within, S34D, with support from key stakeholders, takes a tailored approach to generate evidence and provide actionable, gender-sensitive policy recommendations that create enabling environments at both the national and regional levels. The following are amongst the many services S34D provides to support seed policy:

  • Providing support to government in developing their seed road maps
  • Generating evidence to influence national decision making 
  • Focusing on seed policies and standards that allow for greater liberalization in seed markets 
  • Conducting barrier analysis to adoption of seed for new varieties
  • Supporting measures to stop counterfeit seeds by implementing farmers’ feedback mechanism a.k.a. Stop Bad Seed
  • Providing coordination of seed indices to benchmark and improve its seed system
  • Explore options for new seed classes (Standard Seed) with regulators and accelerate production and delivery of higher quality QDS

Seed Financing

hands holding cash over seed piles

Cost-effective and sustainable financing of national and regional seed sectors within formal and informal seed systems is necessary to enable more farmers – particularly in remote and fragile contexts – to access quality and improved seed varieties. Scaling new business models is vital to effectively expand seed inventories for a broader range of crops while improving delivery of quality seed across formal, informal, and chronic/emergency seed systems. S34D supports these endeavors in the following ways: 

  • Conducts financial scan for seed companies and financial institutions
  • Identifies financing needs and opportunities for Banks/MFIs (FSPs) to support value chains
  • Support new financial options for seed actors in both formal and informal seed systems
  • Develops new financial arrangements with seed production and delivery and distribution companies
seed distribution center

An Analysis of Opportunities and Constraints in Regulated Finance or the Emergency and Humanitarian Aid Seed Sector in Uganda

hands opening peanut

Financial Service Provider Inventory Scan for Niger.

man in agrodealer shop

Seed and post-harvesting technology provider: financial bottleneck analysis

woman holding basket of seeds

The Financing Potential of the Seed Sector in Sub-Saharan Africa

Forage Seed

cattle feeding on forages

An increase in improved forages to serve as high-quality animal feed around the year is a necessity in countries with large livestock populations. However, for increased production of improved forages, a viable and sustainable forage seed system needs to be functional. In many developing countries, an inadequate supply of forage seed has been identified as one of the major constraints to increased forage production. Towards addressing this and other forage seed challenges, S34D works to:

  • develop frameworks to provide assessments of the current state of forage seed systems and monitor forage seed system growth
  • conduct forage seed system assessments and monitoring
  • undergo economic and environmental analyses of novel approaches to forage feed solutions 
  •  identify contextually-appropriate forage seed interventions
workshop constituents in front of meeting venue

Forage and forage seed capacity building report

close up of forage crops

Realizing economic and environmental gains from cultivated forages and feed reserves in Ethiopia

photo of academic journal article

Realizing economic and environmental gains from cultivated forages and feed reserves in Ethiopia

photo of academic journal article

Forage seed system performance of Ethiopia: An overview based on key indicators

Periodic Reports

man holding beans in his field

FY22 Annual Report

field of forages

FY22 Semi-Annual Report

woman with cattle

FY22 Annual Work Plan

woman hand-sowing seeds

FY21 Annual Report

hand holding seeds over six bins of seeds

FY21 Semi-Annual Report

person reaching into seed basket

FY21 Annual Work Plan

hands holding peanuts

FY20 Semi-Annual Report

beans on carpet and in a container

FY20 Annual Report

person holding seeds above a bag full of seeds

FY20 Annual Work Plan

woman holding basket of bean pods in a field

FY19 Annual Report

hands holding bean pods

FY19 Semi-Annual Report

four hands holding four different types of legume seeds

FY19 Annual Work Plan

S34D Newsletter Archive


Webinars and Presentations

hand holding seeds

High-Quality Seed Production by Smallholder Farmer Groups: A Global Case Study

forage plants in a field

Forage Seed System Performance of Ethiopia: An overview based on key indicators

hand holding cocoa nibs

Seed policy provisions and operational challenges in Ethiopia

hands holding plant stem

Grain Market: A Pull for Seed Businesses across Bean Corridors in Tanzania

damaged maize seed

ry 2022 Development and Comparison of Seed Regulatory Systems Maps in Ethiopia

women carry materials in baskets on head

Global Seed Policy Review

woman holding basket with various types of beans

Comparing Seed Indices and Metrics

close-up of planats in a field

Forage Seed Systems and Feed Reserves: Business Propositions, Case for Ethiopia