The Quality Declared Seed (QDS) component focuses on increasing access to affordable quality seed of preferred varieties by smallholder farmers in Uganda. This is achieved through training entrepreneurial farmer groups to become sustainable Local Seed Businesses (LSBs) who can meet the local demand of quality seed by producing and marketing of quality seed at a profit.
The seed produced by the LSBs are inspected and certified for QDS by Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) to ensure that the seed growers access affordable quality assurance services. MAAIF has made access to quality assurance services by LSBs easier by supporting the training and delegation of the District Agricultural Officers (DAOs) to carry out field inspection roles at district levels.
In addition, the QDS component supports the development of enabling environment through advocating for supportive policies that encourage a pluralistic market oriented seed sector. Categorically, the component focuses on three key areas that support efficient processes and functioning through which overall project objectives can be achieved as outlined below;
Institutionalizing the QDS system
Strengthening LSB support systems through working with in-house LSB trainers, supporting functionality of the LSB associations and supporting some out-scaling partners (OSPs) to continue working with LSBs.
Supporting upgrading of the LSBs according to the 3 performance classes of the LSBs being supported under the project.
To ensure that the QDS systems is institutionalized, ISSD works by strengthening its work with the relevant departments under MAAIF. The areas of focus here include,
Creating awareness on the seed policy as well as seed and plant act QDS regulations,
Supporting MAAIF in development of seed sector information,
Supporting MAAIF to register and develop a database of all QDS growers
Supporting the decentralization of QDS quality assurance system and multi-stakeholder engagements.
Furthermore, to sustain the QDS system/LSB model, ISSD will assess the suitability of academic institutions for LSB methodology embedding.
Following the registered limited support LSBs are getting from the OSPs after the end of the funded contract, the following were planned;
SSD supported identified persons (LSB trainers) within LSBs and equipped them with skills to continuously support LSBs in seed business development on a sustainable basis. These received a three phased TOT together with the sub-county agricultural officers and are regularly monitored and coached.
Furthermore, there is continued support to the LSB zonal associations that are already operational in developing business models to improve their revenue streams for sustainability. New zones too have been supported in the initiation of LSB associations as well as self-evolving LSB cluster based associations
The component also continues to work with Out Scaling Partners (OSPs) and District Local Governments (DLGs) to support LSBs.
Upgrading initiatives continue with focus to support the three different classes of LSBs A, B, C to improve their seed business development. The three major areas of focus include;
Increased QDS production and productivity
Increased QDS sales to local communities
Sustainability of LSB group business