Strengthening the willingness and ability of local agribusinesses, especially seed companies and input dealers, to offer competent extension support to smallholders is an important objective for Theme 3. These businesses are often the first contact for farmers in need of advisory services, yet they usually lack adequate training in basic agronomic practices. Moreover, the inputs they sell are normally packaged for commercial-scale operations rather than smallholder farmers.
A key constraint to improving crop productivity in GSF’s focus sub-counties is weak seed production and supply systems. There is a mix of public and private seed producers in the four sub-counties. In general, the private sector tends to lean towards hybrid seed production, leaving open-pollinated varieties to FBOs and community-level producers. However, as experience in Ethiopia shows, given good training and supervision, FBOs can also handle hybrid production.