As part of the CAADP-XP4 project, CORAF has launched the Seed Business program in response to the challenges facing agriculture in West Africa. Focused on improving access to quality seeds, the program aims to strengthen entrepreneurial skills in seed production, with a particular focus on women and youth.

Launch of the Seed Business program

The Seed Business program addresses the crucial imperative of improving access to quality seeds in West Africa. To promote an inclusive expansion of quality seeds, CORAF organized in April 2022 in Abidjan a regional training session bringing together women leaders and young people.  This led to the establishment of a regional network of women entrepreneurs specializing in plant seeds.

Structured around intensive training, the Seed Business program has strengthened the capacities of women and young people in the production, multiplication, processing, seed marketing and seed business management.

Results of the Seed Business program

The Seed Business program reached five countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal) and their national agricultural research systems, also involving five national women seed networks.  In total, it benefited 191 participants, including 86 young people and 118 women, representing 45% and 62% respectively Among the young, 53% are girls and 47% are boys 

Salimata Ouedraogo, a young seed producer from Burkina Faso, testifies to the positive impact of the training on improving the quality of her products and the optimal management of her business.

“For the next production cycles, we expect an increase in the quality of our seeds and yields thanks to the Seed Business training organized by CORAF.  The training really allowed us to strengthen our technical capacities on seed multiplication but also on post-harvest techniques such as harvesting, drying, conditioning, storage, conservation, says Salimata Ouedraogo.

Tracy James, manager at Techni Seeds Ltd in Nigeria, also highlights the importance of professional networks and knowledge gained during the training. These testimonies reflect the effectiveness of the Seed Business program in strengthening the capacities of actors in the seed industry.

Some recommendations

In order to ensure the sustainability of the program, it is recommended to organise more practical training, digitalize production processes and continue to integrate gender issues into all future initiatives. For the most part, capacity building in the production and management of seed companies is an essential lever to promote access to quality seeds and thus contribute to food and nutrition security in West Africa.