Since 2007, IITA, through the DTMA project and several initiatives including the AGRA-PASS, has been supporting private seed companies and community-based seed producers to produce, distribute, and market improved maize seeds to farmers in remote areas, developing seed storage and processing capacity, promoting policies that accelerate the release of proven new varieties, strengthening seed regulatory systems, eliminating seed trade barriers, and harmonizing regional seed laws. PASS has provided start-up capital for many African seed enterprises resulting in several emerging seed companies and setting the stage for hybrid production and a vibrant seed industry. The DTMA project has provided an adequate quantity of breeder seeds of parental inbred lines and OPVs, organized training courses in quality seed production of hybrids and OPVs, as well as regional and on-farm trials for both the NARS partners and private seed companies. Emphasis has been placed on hybrid seed production by existing and emerging seed companies as a means of ensuring that farmers buy improved seeds annually to ensure the sustainability of seed production and the survival of the seed companies and to make good quality seeds available to farmers at affordable prices.
As a major international partner of the NARS responsible for the development of appropriate maize germplasm and accompanying technologies, IITA has prepared this book, which covers all aspects of sustainable seed production, to contribute to the development of the seed industry. It is hoped that the information provided will go a long way in assisting both small and largescale entrepreneurs to run their seed business successfully and, ultimately, good quality seeds will be available to farmers so that the benefits of maize improvement at IITA would be realized.
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