Seed Value Chains for Sorghum and Millet in Mali: A State-Based System in Transition Report as inadecuate

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This paper reviews the structure and performance of the sorghum and millet seed sector in Mali. TheSahel is the origin of pearl millet and sorghum, seed selection and management of these crops isembedded in local cultures, and most producers of these crops are subsistence oriented. Despite seedsector reform, no certified seed of these crops is sold in local markets and farmers prefer to rely onthemselves or each other for seed. The dominant source of certified seed is the national seed service.Certified seed is multiplied by contracted farmers and seed producer groups, and supplied to farmersthrough farmers’ associations, development organizations, and extension services. The informal sectorsupplies farmers with non-certified seed directly and indirectly through village grain markets. There is noconsensus about whether it is lack of effective demand or supply that constrains farmer use of certifiedsorghum and millet seed, but researchers generally conclude that the process of certifying seed is toolengthy, some mechanism must be established for production and trade of locally-adapted landraces, andMali’s highly structured farmers’ associations could play an even stronger role in testing and promotingdemand for certified seed. Recommendations have included the use of small packs and seed auctionswhere market infrastructure is sparse, and in more commercialized areas, involvement of agro-inputdealers, shopkeepers and traders. Still, estimated adoption rates for improved millet (under 10 percent ofcrop area) and sorghum seed (under 20 percent of crop area) could be as high as can be expected in thischallenging natural environment and institutional context.

Keywords: seed ; formal sector ; informal sector ; millet ; sorghum ; Mali

Subject(s): Agribusiness

Crop Production/Industries

Issue Date: 2008

Publication Type: Working or Discussion Paper

PURL Identifier:

Total Pages: 48

Series Statement: IFPRI Discussion Paper


Record appears in: CGIAR > International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) > IFPRI Discussion Papers

Author: Diakite, Lamissa ; Sidibe, Amadou ; Smale, Melinda ; Grum, Mikkel


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