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
  • Number & adequacy of active breeders

    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. Disaggregated by crop and gender of breeder. "Active breeder" is defined as one who is currently engaged in breeding/maintaining of a variety. Information is collected from seed companies, the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI), and universities.

Yes +
  • 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 plant variety catalogue. The indicator tracks the number of varieties that have been released in the last ten years.

Yes +
  • Availability of (basic) foundation seed

    Foundation (also known as basic) seed is pure seed stock used to grow certified seed. Seed companies that do not breed their own varieties access basic seed from NARI, international agricultural research institutions, universities or other seed companies. The indicator tracks the availability of foundation seed by collecting information on the volumes of basic seeds produced by seed companies and NARI, the timeliness and quality of supply of basic seed from public institutions, and seed companies' opinion on the availability of foundation seed.

Yes +
  • Average age of varieties sold

    The assumption underlying this indicator 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. The indicator tracks the age of varieties sold based on the year when the variety was released by the regulator. Information is sourced from seed companies, government institutions, and the national plant variety catalogue.

Yes -
  • 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-tolerant and early-maturing), gender-responsive (e.g., quick-cooking), nutrition-enhanced (e.g., fortified with iron), demanded by industry (e.g., high oil content), etc. The indicator tracks the number of varieties that have at least one "special" attribute/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 +
  • Number of active seed companies/producers

    The indicator tracks the number of active, registered companies/producers engaged in the production and sale of certified seeds of at least one of the priority crops in the data collection year. Owner/top management are disaggregated by gender. The indicator also tracks the aggregate volume of seed production and sales for the priority crops.

Yes +
  • Market concentration

    As a measure of market power concentration, this indicator tracks combined market share of the four largest seed companies (based on sales volumes). The Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI) is also used to track market concentration.

Yes -
  • 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 -
  • Efficiency of seed import & export

    This indicator tracks the length of the import/export processes and includes time spent in obtaining official documents and clearance of consignment measured in days, import tariffs, the total volume of certified seed imports and exports, source/destination countries, and seed companies' level of satisfaction with the import/export processes.

Yes +
  • 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 DUS, VCU and other costs associated with the variety release process.

Yes -
  • 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 whether/to what extent national seed regulations are harmonized with applicable regional seed instruments.

No +
  • Status of implementation of seed regulations

    The indicator tracks the degree of implementation of the country's seed policies and laws, if requisite institutions/committees are in place, status of the national variety catalogue and the applicable regional seed regulations. It also tracks seed companies' level of satisfaction with the implementation of seed regulations in the country.

No +
  • Number & adequacy of seed inspectors

    Inspectors have multiple important roles, including the testing of seed performance in the field and at processing and inspection of seed dealers and agents at the retail level. The indicator tracks the number of seed inspectors, public and private by gender. It also tracks seed digitization of inspection processes and companies' level of satisfaction with the adequacy of seed inspectors.

No +
  • 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 in the country, along with measures used by the government to stamp out fake seeds, digitization of such measures and collaboration with private sector. It also assesses the level of satisfaction reported by seed companies with government efforts to counter fake seeds.

No +
  • Status of subsidy program

    The indicator assesses the government seed subsidy program (if applicable) 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.
    5. The indicator also tracks seed companies' perception of the following aspects of the subsidy program — transparency and predictability of seed procurement and efficiency of payments.

No +
  • 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 including inter- and intra-ministerial coordination and collaboration with the private sector.

No +
  • 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 +
  • 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. It disaggregates number of extension agents by gender and tracks digitization of extension services, if government engages it to promote new varieties.

No +
  • Concentration of 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. Agro-dealers are disaggregated by gender. The indicator also tracks accreditation processes and if any agro-dealers target women farmers.

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

    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. This data point is important as many smallholder farmers end up making a choice between purchasing seed from the formal sector or planting grain.

Yes -
  • 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 +