Facilitating farmers’ access to quality seed requires proper understanding of the functioning of seed systems. This study aimed at analyzing soybean (Glycine max [L.] Merr.) seed systems in Benin to pave the way for strengthening this sector. The research approach consisted of desk research, focus group discussions, individual interviews and validation workshop with stakeholders involved in soybean seed systems. Our findings revealed that despite the existence of an institutional and organizational framework, the formal soybean seed system is not at all functioning. Farmers mainly relied on informal seed system through self-saved seed and seed purchase in the markets. There is an emerging soybean seed system led by NGOs and farmers’ organizations. Current soybean seed systems are ineffective in timely supplying desired soybean varieties to farmers. Creation of enabling environment to attract private investment and develop local seed businesses is proposed along with new organizational arrangements among stakeholders. Farmers’ training in seed production, processing and managerial skills, as strategy to improve informal seed system, are proposed to strengthen local seed business. Farmers’ organizations have a critical role to play, as they serve as intermediary between their members and seed producers. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) could be exploited not only to promote improved seeds but also to ensure traceability in the system. Quality Declared Seed could be the most adapted quality insurance scheme in remote areas. The proposed arrangements among stakeholders in the seed systems in this study could be applied to legume crops other than soybean.
Date of publication:
RUFORUM Journal Articles
Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)/WOTRO Science for Global Development