Institutional markets

Within a larger structure of seed sector transformation, institutional markets, i.e. where government, donors, NGOs and/or projects procure in a centralized manner seed, and then disseminate freely or under a subsidized regime, are critical to increase farmers’ use to quality seed.

However, their structure and interventions affect the functioning of the seed sector; impacting seed company business models and behaviour, and farmers’ willingness to invest in and appreciate quality seed. While, institutional markets can be part of a well-functioning sector, it is critical that they are structured in order to support the development of an accountable, professional and sustainable industry.

Institutional markets constitute a major share of the Nigerian seed market. The African Seed Access Index estimates that institutional markets represent approximately 50% of the total volume of maize and rice seed transacted in the market. However, while institutional players have the potential to power the growth of the seed industry, they are often a leading cause of market distortion.

Topic vision

In five years, a qualified and independent service unit, supports government, donors, NGOs and development projects in the use of good practices in the procurement, dissemination and marketing of quality seed that are aligned with the production capacity of genuine seed companies, i.e. they foster the development of an accountable, professional and sustainable seed sector.

Strategic innovation pathway (SIP)

This pathway is presented in the NSRM. The pathway is essentially an agreed set of steps which see partners collaborate and progress the sector from its current status and challenges, through a process of catalytic innovation towards the stated topic ambition(s):

  1. Assess challenges and opportunities within existing seed procurement, dissemination and marketing practices of large value chain, private sector development, humanitarian and food security programmes.
  2. Assess current business models and production capacity of seed companies that supply to institutional markets; assess the current institutional arrangement between institutional players and seed companies.
  3. Explore viability, modalities and institutional positioning, and support the operationalization of a service provision unit that coordinates the interface between institutional players and seed companies; provide advisory and technical support services, through the unit, to institutional market players in designing and implementing seed procurement, dissemination and marketing guidelines in a manner that is aligned with the capabilities, production capacity, and multiple-year planning of genuine seed companies; include opportunities for multiple-year contracts (partly foreseen to be supported through CSP).
  4. Strengthen and support the service provision unit to develop seed business-friendly procurement strategies and engage with institutional buyers for their piloting and scaling.
  5. Assess the impact of the service provision unit as well as monitor practices used by institutional market players and seed companies; learn lessons on the role and contributions of institutional players promoting seed sector development.