Farmer access to improved variety seeds of staple crops has always been one of the perennial challenges of agricultural development. Many models of seed multiplication and distribution system have been tried that are based on a combination of private, NGO and public sector partners playing niche roles in filling the gap between technology supply and demand.
Examples of some of the models used to fill this gap include systems based on farmer cooperatives, strengthening networks of village-based agro-dealers, promoting farmer operated seed enterprises, supporting farmer associations or CIALs, providing incentives to private seed companies to expand their product lines, etc. Some of these models are also being used by the Legume Innovation Lab (formerly known as the Dry Grain Pulses CRSP) under its ‘Bean Technology Dissemination’ (BTD) project currently being implemented (through an Associate Award) in four countries in Central America and the Caribbean (i.e., Honduras, Haiti, Guatemala and Nicaragua).
The seed dissemination project implemented in four countries in Central America offers a good opportunity to do an in-depth analysis of the unique features of different models for seed multiplication and distribution so as to identify principles of sustainability present/absent from these different models and derive implications and lessons for broader applicability to other countries where Innovation Lab research programs are active.
Thus, as part of this opportunity, the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) component of the BTD project conducts field research to: