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Seed security in Malawi with emphasis on food crops

Francis Ng'ambi and Moses F.A. Maliro

Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN) for the Africa Biodiversity Network (ABN)

April 2003

Posted with the permission of the author Francis Ng'ambi
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Executive summary

The study in Malawi was undertaken within the framework of ABN's objectives as outlined in the preamble. However, the seed security study in Malawi put more emphasis on food crops such as Maize and legumes because of their dietary and cash crop importance. It is also one of the few areas in the agricultural sector where a considerable amount of research has been done already with the aim trying to improve on the sector. But for purpose of this research, the idea was to examine what the key players are already doing in the area, constrains and difficulties met in the sector especially by the local farmers and finally what can be done to improve seed security with recognizance of intellectual property rights of the farmers themselves to produce, multiply and conserve their seed.

Even though the seed sector in Malawi is dominated by the informal sector, counting for about 85% of all cultivated seed, the formal sector too has been tackled specifically to show how their activities impinge on seed security positively or negatively in as far as affordability and accessibility of the seed in concerned.

  1. Country of Study
    The study was conducted in Malawi, as a network member country of ABN. Other countries involved in a similar study include Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, South Africa and Zambia.

  2. Co-ordination of the study (National Coordinator Organization)
    The Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN), a coalition organization for NGOs participating in the PRSP process for Malawi, coordinated the research study. MEJN, the Project Implementer for the study is represented in ABN by Mr. Francis Ng'ambi, who is also the Board Chair for MEJN and coordinator for the seed security study in Malawi.

  3. The Researchers
    The research team was composed of Mr. Francis Ng'ambi with specific responsibility on government policy and legislation, collection of visual materials and Mr. Moses F.A. Maliro (plant Breeder and Biotechnologist) with specific task to analyze the seed system, seed multiplication, projects and seed saving programmes/seed banks.

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