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SPTA Project Brief – Efficient Seed Production Process for SMEs in Africa (updated July 2020)

The Seed Production Technology for Africa (SPTA) project is working to implement an advanced seed production system in Africa for the benefit of smallholder farmers. Smallholders in sub-Saharan Africa regularly use outdated maize hybrids and open-pollinated varieties that limit yield potential. Studies show that only 57 percent of sub-Saharan Africa’s maize-growing area is planted with recently purchased seed. The average weighted age of hybrids grown in the region is 15 years compared to an average of fewer than 5 years in highly productive world regions. This is despite the availability of improved maize hybrids developed to help farmers deal with an array of stresses such as drought, pests, and diseases. These improved varieties often do not reach smallholders because of inadequate seed systems and marketing opportunities. The Seed Production Technology for Africa (SPTA) project was launched to improve access for smallholders to the high-quality seed of modern maize varieties. The project targets small and medium seed production companies in the region to strengthen their capacity to produce high-quality hybrid maize more efficiently and at a reduced cost.