High-quality seed is boosting agriculture in Chad
Title: Programme for the Operationalisation of the Seed Sector in Chad
Commissioned by: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
Financed by: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC); Agence Française de Développement (AFD), European Union (EU)
Co-financed by: Agence Française de Développement (AFD), European Union (EU)
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Production, Irrigation and Agricultural Equipment
Overall term: 2013 to 2023
Farming is the main source of income in Chad. It makes up almost a quarter of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and employs around 80 per cent of the labour force. This makes it crucial to the country's economic development.
But the full potential of agriculture is not being exploited in Chad. Only six per cent of the potential cultivation area is being used. There are many reasons for this: in addition to uncontrollable climatic fluctuations, soil depletion, plant pests and inadequate water management, the extremely limited access to agricultural resources such as seeds is a core problem.
Yet high-quality seed is one of the most important factors for increasing agricultural yields. Seed can also make the population more self-sufficient and generate income. However, the seed industry in Chad is poorly organised and structured, and can scarcely meet demand.
The seed industry is efficient, well organised and serves a larger number of farmers. The agricultural production systems in the selected provinces are diversified and optimised.
The project is currently in the second phase. Its main goal is sustainable development of the seed industry in order to improve food and nutrition security. To this end, the project promotes biodiversity and varietal diversity as well as availability of high-quality seed. Five types of seed are promoted: millet, maize, sorghum, peanuts and black-eyed peas.
The project is advocating for a sound legal framework to make it easier for government and private sector institutions to regulate the seed industry. It also supports the Chadian Institute of Agricultural Research for Development (Institut tchadien de recherche agronomique pour le développement, ITRAD) and the Seed and Plants Directorate (Direction des Semences et Plants, DSP). For the organisations, improved knowledge and additional skills simplify variety selection, production and inspection of high-quality seed from local sources. The project also provides organisational and technical support to the seed producers in order to enhance professionalisation of their work. The farmers also receive training on growing crops from the seed.
Particular attention is paid to the deployment of dual-purpose varieties, which can be used for both food crops and fodder. This helps reduces conflict over agricultural areas between farmers and herdsmen. The project is also introducing new ‘biofortified’ seed varieties which have high nutritional value.
The project has made key contributions to the coordination, regulation and formulation of the national seed policy. A law regarding seed and seedlings propagated from plant material provides a framework for seed production. The law was supplemented with four accompanying documents which are available to the industry interest groups.
While ITRAD, the most important agricultural research institution in Chad, can now offer greater varietal diversity, DSP, which is responsible for seed inspection and certification, can perform field and laboratory inspections more efficiently.
The production of certified seed has increased drastically in the areas where the project is active. While 140 tonnes were produced in 2019, this had already increased to 244 tonnes by 2020. The project has produced 35 per cent of commercial seed for maize, millet, sorghum, peanuts and black-eyed peas in Chad. The seed quality has improved as well. After the second DSP inspection, 909 hectares of commercial seed production fields were declared compliant, which is an acceptance rate of 97 per cent of the seeded area.
Demand has increased as well in addition to the improved supply, since awareness of the added value of high-quality seed has increased among farmers.
Finally, it is estimated that over 2,000 seed producers and farmers are benefiting from additional income thanks to the activities of PROFISEM+.
Last updated: March 2021