Indicators

The indicators used in TASAI were determined in three stages namely preexisting knowledge, industry survey and lessons from pilot:

1. Pre-existing knowledge: First we surveyed the existing literature on the building block of enabling environments for agro-industries. We then consulted with various key seed sector informants to come up with a long list long list of relevant variables. Consultation with several established indexes guided the target numbers and classification of indicators.

2. Industry survey: Second, we conducted a survey of African seed sector players to evaluate the importance of each indicators resulting in a smaller subset of key indicators. The survey was completed by 167 respondents including private seed companies (53.9%), non-governmental organizations (6.5%), government departments (15%), and research institutions (18.6).

3. Lessons from pilot: In 2013-2014 TASAI concluded pilot studies in Kenya, Uganda, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Key lessons from these pilot studies both sharpened the focus on the index and added four new indicators.

The table below shows 22 indicators that form the core of TASAI. You can click on each indicator to see an expanded description of its role, measurement and sources of information. In addition to these core indicators, some countries may have a few other indicators that are critical to the local seed sector. Some indicators are measured independently for each focus crop while others are sector wide. The last column shows the hypothesized impact of increased indicator performance on seed access by smallholder farmers.

  A. RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT Crop-specific Impact on seed access
A1
  • Number & adequacy of active breeders

    Count of breeders by crop or sector (e.g., cereals, pulses) and gender. "Active breeder" is defined as one who is currently engaged in breeding/maintaining of a variety. Information is collected from seed companies and the national agriculture research systems (NARS). The indicator tracks the number of active breeders in the public and private sectors who are working on one or more of the priority crops.

Yes +
A2
  • Number of varieties released

    Approved varieties are released by the government agency in charge of the seed industry. In most cases, newly-released varieties are listed in a national seed variety catalogue. The indicator tracks the number of varieties that have been released in the ten years preceding the study.

Yes +
A3
  • Availability of (basic) foundation seed

    Foundation (or early-generation) seed is pure seed stock used to grow registered and certified seed. In most African countries, it is grown by or under the supervision of a public agency, though some bigger private companies have facilities to produce their own foundation seed. Seed companies that do not breed their own varieties access basic seed from sources such as government agricultural research programs, international agricultural research institutions, or other seed companies. The indicator tracks the availability of foundation seed (also known as early-generation seed) by collecting information on the volumes of basic seeds produced by seed companies and NARS, as well as the seed companies' opinion on the availability of foundation seed.

Yes +
A4
  • Average age of varieties sold

    The underlying assumption here is that, as a result of breeding efforts, new varieties respond better than old varieties to challenges such as climate change, new pests, and diseases. Consequently, the younger the age of varieties on the market, the better-prepared farmers are to meet the above challenges. The indicator tracks the age of varieties sold based on the year when the variety is released by the regulator. Information is sourced from seed companies, government institutions, and the variety release catalogue.

Yes -
A5
  • Percentage of varieties with "special" attributes/features

    "Special attributes/features" address certain agronomic, nutritional, and social challenges or demands by the food industry; examples include varieties that are climate-smart (e.g., drought-tolerance), gender-responsive (e.g., quick-cooking), nutrition-enhanced, demanded by industry, etc. The indicator tracks the number of varieties that have at least one "special" feature. Information is collected from the national variety release catalogue and is presented as the percentage of all varieties released in the last three (3) years.

Yes +
B. INDUSTRY COMPETITIVENESS
B1
  • Number of active seed companies/producers

    Competition breeds excellence! The indicator tracks the number of active, registered companies that are engaged in the production and sale of certified seeds of at least one of the priority crops in the data collection year. The indicator also tracks the volume of combined production and sales for the priority crops.

Yes +
B2
  • Market concentration

    As a measure of market power concentration, indicator tracks the seed sales by each active company and reports the combined market share of the top four companies. The Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI) is also used to track market concentration.

Yes -
B3
  • Market share of state-owned seed company

    Tracking government involvement shows the impact a state-owned seed company has on the seed sector. This indicator tracks the seed sales by companies that are owned by the government (wholly or partly) and presents them as a percentage of total seed sales.

Yes -
B4
  • Efficiency of seed import & export

    This indicator tracks the length of the import/export processes measured in days, the total volume of certified seed imports and exports, and seed companies' level of satisfaction with the import/export processes.

Yes +
C. SEED POLICY AND REGULATIONS
C1
  • Length & cost of variety release process

    The length of variety release (in months) is measured from the date a variety is submitted for National Performance Trials to when it is approved for release by the Variety Release Committee. The indicator also tracks costs associated with the variety release process.

Yes -
C2
  • Status of seed policy framework

    This indicator tracks whether the country has a seed policy framework in place, including seed policy, seed law, regulations, plant protection law, etc. It also tracks the status of regional harmonization, if applicable.

No +
C3
  • Status of implementation of seed regulations

    The indicator tracks the degree of implementation of the country's seed policies and laws, as well as that of the regional seed regulations (if applicable). It also tracks seed companies' level of satisfaction with the implementation of seed regulations in the country.

No +
C4
  • Number & adequacy of seed inspectors

    Inspectors have multiple important roles, including the testing of seed performance in the field and inspecting seed dealers and agents at the retail level. The indicator tracks the number of seed inspectors, including, when available, number of instructors by sector (public vs. private) and gender. It also tracks seed companies' level of satisfaction with the adequacy of seed inspectors.

No +
C5
  • Efforts to stamp out counterfeit seed

    Counterfeit seed is a growing problem in most African countries, threatening smallholder farmers who unknowingly purchase inferior quality grain labeled as certified seed. The indicator tracks the number of counterfeit seed cases reported (if available) in the country, along with measures used by the government to stamp out fake seeds. It also assesses the level of satisfaction reported by seed companies with government efforts to counter fake seeds.

No +
C6
  • Use of smart subsidies

    The indicator tracks the extent to which the government uses a smart subsidy program by tracking the following four components:
    1. Size and value of the subsidy program, as a percentage of the overall seed market.
    2. Distribution system for the subsidy program, whether through private or public institutions.
    3. In the case of price subsidies, the percentage of the seed retail price that is subsidized by the program.
    4. In the case of targeted subsidies, the population(s) targeted by the subsidy program.

No +
D. INSTITUTIONAL SUPPORT
D1
  • Status of institutionalization of seed sector coordination

    Well-functioning national seed sectors have effective coordinating institutions that work well together, following rules and procedures in clearly defined legal instruments. This indicator collects information on the above aspects of the national seed sector.

No +
D2
  • Quality of national seed trade association

    In many countries, national seed trade associations play a key role between the private sector and government in seed-sector policy processes. This indicator tracks the performance of the national seed trade association from the point of view of its members, including governance, management, representation, effectiveness in advocacy, and value to members.

No +
E. SERVICE TO SMALLHOLDER FARMERS
E1
  • Availability of extension services for smallholder farmers

    Well-functioning agricultural extension services are critical to the successful adoption of improved seeds by smallholder farmers. The indicator tracks the ratio of the number of public and private extension officers to the number of farming households.

No +
E2
  • Concentration of rural agro-dealer network

    Agro-dealers play a key role in closing the last mile in Africa's seed distribution systems and are often the main point of sale for certified seed. The indicator tracks the ratio of the number of agro-dealers to the number of agricultural households in the country.

Yes +
E3
  • Availability of seed in small packages

    Because most farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa are small-scale, making seed available in small, more affordable packages is a good way to increase adoption rates among smallholder farmers. This indicator tracks the availability of seed in small packages (defined as 2 kgs or smaller) presented as the percentage of overall seed sales.

Yes +
E4
  • Seed-to-grain price ratios at planting time

    This data point is important as many smallholder farmers end up making a choice between purchasing seed from the formal sector or planting grain. The indicator tracks the ratio of the price of certified seed (per kg) and the farm-gate price of grain (per kg), at the time of planting.

Yes -
E5
  • Degree of customer orientation

    Responsiveness to customer demand and feedback is a key facet of a successful business. This indicator collects information on marketing strategies and quality assurance systems employed by seed companies/producers. It measures the extent to which seed companies are implementing practices that allow them to better serve their customers (smallholder farmers).

No +



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