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ISSD Approach

ISSD contributes to agricultural development

Quality seed is a key input for agriculture with an immediate effect on agricultural production and productivity. Integrated Seed Sector Development (ISSD) is an inclusive approach that recognizes and builds upon a diversity of seed systems in the sector. At Centre for Development Innovation (CDI), Wageningen UR and at Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), we use the ISSD approach to guide us in the design and implementation of seed sector interventions that are coherent with farmers’ agricultural practices. We do this with the main objective of enhancing farmers’ access to quality seed of superior varieties, and contribute to food security and economic development.

A seed sector is composed of different seed systems

To work with the ISSD approach we need to understand and acknowledge the coexistence of the seed sector’s multiple seed systems. Seed systems can be characterized on the basis of the domains in which they operate (public, private, informal, formal, mixed); the type of crops involved (food crops, cash crops); the type of varieties used (landrace, improved, exotic, hybrid); the type of seed quality assurance mechanisms operational (informal, QDS, certified); and the seed dissemination mechanisms active (local exchange, agro-input distribution schemes, agrodealers).

Informal, intermediary and formal seed systems

We can generalize from the diversity of seed systems, three clusters, namely: informal seed systems; formal seed systems; and intermediary systems that are on their way towards formalized regulation. Examples of informal seed systems are the farmer-saved and community-based seed systems. Formal seed systems include public and private seed companies, which may operate at national and at international levels. Relief seed and local seed business are systems operating in the intermediary cluster. Every country has its own landscape of informal, intermediary and formal seed systems.