Access to Seeds Foundation
The Access to Seeds Foundation is an independent, not-for-profit organization established to encourage the seed industry to bridge the gap between the productivity and potential of smallholder farmers. It aims to reach that goal in particular by developing and publishing an independent Access to Seeds Index. The Foundation is funded by the Dutch government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The Access to Seeds Foundation maintains the Access to Seeds Index. The Regional Index for Eastern Africa was developed in partnership with Cardno Emerging Markets, based in Nairobi, Kenya.
A billion people go to bed hungry every day, two billion suffer from malnutrition. And the global population is expected to grow by a further two billion in the coming decades, precisely in those regions – sub-Saharan Africa, South and Southeast Asia and parts of Latin America – that are currently considered food insecure.
Agriculture in these regions is dominated by small-scale agriculture, with farms of around two soccer fields. Improving productivity of these smallholder farmers is vital to meet future food demands. With their strengths in breeding and delivery, seed companies can contribute to improving access to seeds for smallholders, enabling them to increase yields, improve nutritional quality and cope with climate change. However, currently only 2,5% of the seed used by smallholders in sub-Saharan Africa now comes from seed companies.
The Access to Seeds Index evaluates how the seed industry is bridging the gap with the smallholder farmer. It focuses on seven global leaders in field crops (such as maize, rice and wheat), ten global leaders in vegetable seed and zooms in on 17 leading seed companies in Eastern Africa. It aims to provide an evidence base to the conversation on where and how seed companies can step up their efforts.
The Access to Seeds Index ranks seed companies by measuring and comparing their efforts to improve access to seeds for smallholder farmers. By doing so the Index provides insight in the role the seed industry can play in increasing the agricultural productivity of smallholder farmers in a sustainable way.
The Index is published every two years by the Access to Seeds Foundation, an independent organization supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Dutch Ministries of Economic and Foreign Affairs.See more