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Understanding and strengthening informal seed markets

This paper documents the importance of informal markets for supplying seed and restocking critical plant genetic resources in normal and stress periods. It analyses farmers’ rationales for using such markets and their strategic actions in selecting out seed from grain. Conceptual aids for differentiating among market goods – grain, ‘implicit seed’ and seed – are presented, including tracing of agro-ecological seed sources, traders’ seed management behaviour and seed/grain price patterns. Ethiopian case material gives rare insight into how different scales of traders manage the seed/grain divide.

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