Access to Seeds Index benchmarks top seed companies on efforts to support smallholder farmers

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Article
29 February 2016

Access to Seeds Index Report 2016

A billion people go to bed hungry every day and two billion suffer from malnutrition. The global population is expected to grow by a further two billion in the coming decades, precisely in those regions that are currently considered food insecure. In these regions where agricultural systems are dominated by smallholder farmers, access to the key inputs to produce more and better food is often lacking. Quality seeds of improved varieties have enabled farmers in advanced agricultural systems to triple their yields. What is the seed industry, strategically placed as it is at the start of the food value chain, doing to help smallholder farmers in food insecure regions to achieve similar results? The Access to Seeds Index aims to shine a light on this question. It assesses and benchmarks leading global field crop and vegetable seed companies on their efforts to make their products available to small-holder farmers in four regions: Latin America, Western Africa, Eastern Africa, and South and Southeast Asia. A separate Regional Index has been compiled for Eastern Africa.

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Article
29 February 2016

Access to Seeds Index website

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Article
29 February 2016

Index pushes seed companies to address smallholder farmers' food security

Author: Joris Tielens, Guardian (UK)

"New index ranks Monsanto, Dupont and Syngenta on efforts to help smallholders", 27 Feb 2016

The world’s leading seed companies must do more to increase smallholder farmers’ access to seeds. This is the conclusion of the recently launched Access to Seeds Index, which ranks leading seed companies on their efforts to improve the productivity of smallholder farmers...The index...is the first of its type, and aims to inform the debate on the role of seed corporations in food security. One billion people still go to bed hungry, and the bulk of the world’s population growth is expected to take place in the world’s most food-insecure regions...Ido Verhagen, executive director of the Access to Seeds Index Foundation, says leading companies in the Index view serving smallholder farmers as a business opportunity while lower-rated companies regard it as charity or corporate social responsibility...The Index, however, has faced some criticism from Oxfam. While companies earn points if they share some of their plant genetic resources in a charity project they don’t get penalised for having a restrictive patenting policy and maintaining a monopoly on plant genetic materials, says Gigi Manicad, a seed expert with Oxfam Novib, the Dutch branch of Oxfam...In response to the Index being published, DuPont Pioneer says it is committed to improving the livelihoods of at least 3 million farmers by the end of 2020. “They are a piece of the puzzle to strengthening global food security, poverty alleviation and agricultural systems in so many parts of the world,” says European spokesperson József Máté...

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