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Characterizing cassava farmer typologies and their seed sourcing practices to explore opportunities for economically sustainable seed business models in Rwanda
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The overdependency on local cassava varieties and informal seed sources by farmers in Rwanda has contributed to the spread of cassava viral diseases. The use of improved planting materials made available through formal seed sources, that assure seed quality, is one way to prevent future disease outbreaks. In order to increase the availability of, and farmers access to, such materials there is increasing interest to develop seed business models. This study aims to understand seed sourcing practices of different farm typologies to inform the development of tailored seed business models. A total of 390 farmers were interviewed and the collected data was analyzed into clusters, resulting in seven farm typologies. Seed sourcing strategies, seed replacement dynamics and purchasing behavior of these typologies were explored via a seed tracing study. We find that more commercial oriented farmers have better access to formal seed sources. Nevertheless, the majority of farmers in all typologies accessed new varieties and quality cassava seed via informal channels. At both formal and informal sources, cash investments in seed were mainly made by the categories of better-off farmers, and were one-time investments to acquire a new variety. Based on farmers current seed sourcing practices, clarifications on the differences between farmers and their willingness-to-pay, the roles of seed degeneration, cost-benefit analysis, value propositions and profit formulas seem important requirements for the further development of viable cassava seed business models. We conclude that tailoring seed business models can have a high potential as it acknowledges differences among farmers, but that careful coordination is needed to ensure that one approach or intervention does not contrast with and/or undermine the others.
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Permanent link to this itemhttps://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12478/7328
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