There are many stakeholders who play an important role along the seed trade value chain. They include:
Ministries of Agriculture: Ministries of Agriculture from all 16 SADC Member States play a critical role in the development, approval and publishing of seed policy into law. As national governments work to align their seed policies and laws to the SADC Harmonized Seed Regulatory System and take ownership in enforcing those laws, it will increase their ability to move high-quality seed consignments seamlessly across borders. There are two entities within the Ministries of Agriculture that implement the SADC HSRS:
Seed Trade Associations: Seed Trade Associations are typically not-for-profit membership organizations that champion the interests of private seed companies with operations in-country. Their purpose is to facilitate the best environment for the trade and innovation of quality seed for the benefit of members and farmers.
Click here for a full list of Seed Trade Associations within SADC and points-of-contact.
Seed Companies and Producers: Private seed companies and producers are responsible for the production and trade (either internationally or on the local market) of seed. They must adhere to national standards, which are currently moving toward alignment with regional standards (SADC HSRS), which facilitate the production of high-quality, improved seed. Seed companies can register improved seed varieties on the SADC Seed Variety Catalogue, and once approved, can market that seed to any Member State.
Agro-dealers: Agro-dealers play an intermediary role, bridging the gap between seed companies (suppliers) and farmers. A typical agro-dealer is a rural or peri-urban shop owner who distributes farm supplies, including seed, to smallholder farmers. They play four key roles: 1) Access: Provide farmers with affordable, convenient, and timely access to quality agro-inputs to enhance yields; 2) Education: Provide basic extension services on the best way to apply agro-inputs (e.g., proper usage, safe handling) to achieve favorable economic returns; 3) Finance: Provide credit to farmers, often based on relationships not collateral; and 4) Output Markets: Provide smallholder farmers and consumers with a central location to buy and sell produce.
Farmers: Farmers, particularly smallholder farmers, are the ultimate reason the SADC HSRS was established—to ensure they have access to high-quality seed with the goal of improving yields, and in turn, income. This means also giving them access to seed that is resistant to pests, plant diseases and climate shocks helping them, their families and their communities be more food secure.