Local village seed systems and pearl millet seed quality in Niger

Ndjeunga, J (2002) Local village seed systems and pearl millet seed quality in Niger. Experimental Agriculture, 38 (2). pp. 149-162.

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This paper assesses the structure, conduct and performance of seed markets at the village level and highlights the relative contributions of both formal and informal sectors to local village seed systems in Niger. Three sets of data were used, one each at the institutional, farm and rural household levels. Data from institutions and members were obtained from an informal survey during September-October 1996. Household-level data were gathered from a survey of 302 rural households conducted during June-July 1997. Donors have invested more than $45 million in seed production projects in Niger during the past two decades. These investments have largely failed. Public seed systems consistently supplied less than 2% of the total national seed planted by farmers. Through subsidies, seed prices represent less than one-third of the average cost of seed production. In contrast, at the village level, most farmers consistently obtain pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum) seed from their own harvests, from neighbours or from village markets. Seed is of acceptable quality and a range of varieties is available. Village seed systems offer a cheaper and more efficient means of delivering seed to farmers. Future investment in seed systems development should target improvements in the capacity of village seed systems to maintain and distribute seed security stocks in drought years. Efficient seed producers or groups of farmers in each community should be identified and encouraged to become entrepreneurs tasked with the multiplication and distribution of new pearl millet varieties.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Mandate crops > Millets
Depositing User: Library ICRISAT
Date Deposited: 14 Sep 2011 10:02
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2013 09:08
URI: http://oar.icrisat.org/id/eprint/1522
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0014479702000224
Acknowledgement: The author acknowledges the statistical advice of R. D Stern, the contributions of Dr A. A. Abbasher and Dr K. A. Kumar, comments and suggestions from D. D. Rohrbach, and assistance from support staff of ICRISAT's socio-economic and policy programme. The genetic enhancement programme at ICRISAT-Niamey helped with laboratory tests on seed quality and health and ®eld assessments of genetic purity. We are grateful to staff in various departments of the Directorate of Agriculture and to all farmers for participating in the interviews.
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