Access to Seeds has launched its latest Index, evaluating and ranking seed companies according to their efforts to improve access to quality seeds of improved varieties for smallholder farmers. The results of the South and Southeast Asia (SSEA) Index were announced during the Asian Seed Congress attended by members of the Asia Pacific Seed Association (APSA) including private seed companies and national seed associations.
Understanding the seed industry
Access to Seeds, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, seeks primarily to identify leadership and good practices, shedding light on where and how the seed industry can step up its efforts.
The 2019 SSEA Seed Index was officially released by Ido Verhagen, Access to Seeds Foundation’s Executive Director, and Coosje Hoogendoorn, Senior Research Lead.
“The Index is vital in providing a better understanding of the seed industry,” said Ido Verhagen, Executive Director of the Access to Seeds Index. “Seed companies play a key role in supporting smallholder farmer productivity. By measuring and comparing their performance, companies can see where improvements can be made to serve farmers better. Research agencies or investors interested in reaching smallholders use our research to identify companies to partner with.”
“We congratulate East-West Seed on their ranking in the South and Southeast Asia regional index and their continued commitment to serving smallholder farmers around the world,” he said.
“We see a growing attention for enabling smallholder farmers to cope with the effects of climate change. This makes the Index very timely because seed companies play a key role in delivering new tools and technologies in the hands of smallholder farmers. Findings presented by the Index feed the dialogue on how the seed industry can support a growing food production in the world while remaining within planetary boundaries and reduce climate change impact,” said Ms Hoogendoorn in a previous interview with Asian Seed.
She added, “we are clearly linking company actions for smallholder farmers with the UN's global Sustainable Development Goals issues such as climate change, nutrition, agro-biodiversity, sustainable intensification, and women farmers.”
#1 in South and Southeast Asia
The 2019 Index evaluated 24 companies who operate in the South and Southeast Asia region. Tropical vegetable seed company East-West Seed leads the pack, sustaining the company’s good performance in 2016, when the first Seed Index was released and where East-West Seed was also ranked #1 in the Global Vegetable and East Africa indices.
Bert van der Feltz, President and CEO of East-West Seed said:
“We are extremely honored by this achievement. East-West Seed has always been synonymous with serving smallholder farmers since it was founded in 1982 and it is evident in everything we do to this day.”
“We would like to thank the Access to Seeds Index - not only for recognizing the hard work of all our dedicated team members around the world, but also for the crucial research they provide to the seed industry.
“We will continue to use their data-driven insights to further strengthen our public-private partnerships aimed at improving the lives of smallholder farmers through access to quality seeds.
“EWS performs strongly across all measurement areas, with a variety of programs, initiatives and projects to improve access to seeds for smallholder farmers across the region,” the ATSI report says.
East-West Seed’s Marketing & Sales rating of 4.57 out of 5, which was the highest score within the region, was driven by its distribution channels in all countries in which it makes its entire vegetable seed portfolio available.
The report states that EWS also “shows leadership” within Research & Development, for having a breeding program for a high number of local crops.
“[EWS] high score in Seed Production can be attributed to its collaboration with smallholder farmers, who account for 95% of its production,” the ATSI report said.