Bean seed delivery for small farmers in sub-Saharan Africa: the power of partnerships
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Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/43212
New bean varieties translate into increased on-farm yields only if farmers obtain access to desired seed. Conventional models of legume seed delivery in Africa, centralized with the National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS), prove to be slow and of limited reach. This article describes a novel strategy for seed outreach, the Wider Impact Program, initiated within the 18 countries of the Pan-Africa Bean Research Alliance. Select technical results (on bean seed quality, farmer-to-farmer diffusion, and new variety demand) informed the program design. However, it was significant modification in partnerships that served as the catalyst for achieving fast and widespread diffusion of new bean varieties. Redefining the divisions of labor within the seed supply chain, sharpening the role of each partner, and bringing diverse actors together provided the base for the network's enhanced impact. Assessments show 3.8 million households reached with new varieties from 2003 to 2005 in the six countries most closely monitored.