Seeds for impact launched to promote sustainable Agriculture in West Africa
Seeds for Impact Program (SIP), a programme and rolling competition that offers ﬁnancial and technical assistance to seed companies and smallholder farmers across Africa, was successfully launched in West Africa by AECF in partnership with Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA) at a cocktail reception in Accra on the 27th of November, 2018.
The launch event which was attended by seed growers, international agriculture funders, dignitaries, and government officials and was moderated by AECF Board Chair, Lord Paul Boateng.
The program featured presentations from Victoria Johnson-Chadwick, Investor Relations Manager for SFSA and George Bigirwa, Head, Seed Research & Systems Development for AGRA on the topic “Why Financing Seeds for Impact is Crucial” and comments from Dr.John Manful, a Food & Agricultural Research Scientist and Advisor to Ghana’s Minister of Agriculture.
The Seeds for Impact Program is a 6-year, US $60 million programme with initial funding of US $10 million from Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA) that will target private sector companies in 12 countries namely Nigeria, Ghana, Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique.
SIP seeks to address the funding gap faced by scaling seed companies in their quest to produce improved seed for staple crops and is an initiative of AECF, a development institution which supports businesses to innovate, create jobs, leverage investments and markets in an effort to create resilience and sustainable incomes in rural and marginalized communities in Africa.
“It was key for us to launch Seeds for Impact in West Africa as current agricultural practices in sub-Saharan Africa has undermined the goal of food security and productivity of low-cost nutritious food in both rural and urban markets. Our goal with SIP is to substantially increase the incomes of thousands of smallholder farmers in West Africa by transferring to them in-demand, high-yielding and climate-smart seed, planting material technologies and agricultural innovation,” shared Lord Paul Boateng, a former British MP, British High Commissioner to South Africa and Vice Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Agriculture and Development of the British Parliament.
Awardees of the Seeds for Impact Program will be granted technical and financial assistance and concessional loans and grants ranging between $250,000 and $1.5 million. Criteria for eligibility include:
Small and Medium (SME) seed companies located in one of the focus countries and have a turnover of less than US $10million
Demonstrate the ability to match AECF funding
Must be compliant with fundamental in-country and international human rights, labour standards, environmental management laws, seed laws/policy
Legally registered and physically established in the country of doing business
“In addition to seed investment, the Seeds for Impact Program will provide eligible businesses with access to research and development information available at indigenous public research stations, technology scouting services, business planning, trials, registration, technical support for seed production and monitoring & evaluation, financial advisory, and match-making for follow-on financing. The initiative will support farmers as well as distributors to satisfy seed market needs in West Africa through the introduction of improved varieties and technical assistance needed to scale,” added Daniel Ohonde, Chief Executive Officer of AECF who has more than 25 years-experience of global senior leadership in private sector enterprise development, partnership and resource mobilization across Africa.
The AECF is a development institution which supports businesses to innovate, create jobs, leverage investments and markets in an effort to create resilience and sustainable incomes in rural and marginalized communities in Africa. Launched in 2008, the AECF has mobilized overUS $356 million to date, leveraging more than US $658 million in matching capital and improving the lives of more than 16 million people in 2017 alone through jobs and increased household incomes. AECF has so far supported 266 companies in 25 countries in sub-Saharan Africa across 40 value chains in our focal sectors of agribusiness and renewable energy.