Decentralisation in seed production and distribution can lead to the availability of good quality seed to farmers and boost total production. This increases food self sufficiency, keeping other production factors constant, by increasing the seed and variety replacement rate (Joshi, 2001). Apart from government institutions, some private organisations and farmers' groups are also involved in the seed business (seed production and marketing). Strengthening these groups can help to meet local demands, as well as supply quality seed to fulfil the national demand. Some doubt the ability of farmers to produce quality seed (e.g., with high genetic purity, vigour, freedom from pathogens and inert materials), with questions raised about farmer skills and managerial capabilities. Poor market infrastructure is another limiting factor to the supply of quality seed to a large number of farmers, although some farmers' groups have been successful in producing and marketing high quality seed. One good example is the farmers' group of Pithuwa village in the Chitwan District of Nepal. In the following study, we examine the effectiveness of the seed business managed by farmers' groups on seed production and marketing and attempt to draw lessons from this. It was envisaged that lessons learnt from such a study could be used to develop improved methods of seed production and marketing, in order to meet local and national demands for seed. Findings of two case studies are presented in this report.
CAZS Discussion Papers No. 4, 27 pp.