High Quality seeds are considered fundamental for achieving the agricultural sector’s potential. In some African countries the percentage of high quality seeds used is  astonishingly low. In one of the East African States high-quality planting material accounts for less than 5 percent of total seed used! And over 95 percent of farmers depend on common, disease-infested seed!

As reasons for this situation can be seen eg

 

    • the growers’ limited knowledge of the availability of such seed and its productivity and economic  benefits;
    • the limited production and  distribution of certified, “clean” seed;
    • and its relatively high cost versus the limited resources and absence of credit available resources and absence of credit available.

The governments pursue with high priority strategies to combat these challenges. Following ‘our’ SAP approach we need to find out what they are up to and what we can do with IT means to assist the governments in their efforts. 

Among the means they propose are propelling the production of high quality seeds as well as the accreditation of high quality producers.

  

The first reflex of an IT vendor is of course to support the industry development of the seed production segment – IT means are legion: grantor management, Monitoring and Evaluation etc.. But this is not what I would like to refer to here. For these use cases we have abundance of references around the world – also in the ‘agri’ context.

  

More interesting to me seem to be ways what IT can do in the area of accreditation and tracing of high quality seeds on their way to farmers.

 

The accreditation would start with a  request for an official certificate or license that proves the status as a high quality seed provider. The government granting the certificate would get the request and process it. Since it would highly probably take an onsite inspection before the requester would get the status granted government inspectors need to be send to the producers premises. If the inspection is positive, the certificate is granted. In the future the producer can label all his produce as high quality and could add more information on the seeds.

Now for the IT point of view: is any of these process steps really new to us? No. If you break it down you can identify:

 

    • an eGovernment service: the availability of a  service to request a license. Usually this is done either in a ‘light’ One  Stop portal – eg in the State of
        Hesse for service industries – or in a full blown ‘CRM’ like scenario as you can find it eg in the Dutch MoT. The only thing that is different is the
         subject of the request – it is not asked for a license to moor like in the  NL but asked is for an ‘accreditation’ to call your company a producer of high
         quality seeds. 
    • Slightly different to many eGovernment services may be the inspection on site: but not for the IT part – we have proven to support mobile inspection services eg in Canada (      City of Edmonton ) and that we can schedule inspections is also proven and part of SAP’s ‘usual’ offering – references are available.
    • After the inspection the name  of the producer – if approved – needs to find its way into a register for high quality seed producers. Against this ‘database’ you can check the  status of a farmer alongside the way from producer to farmer – and even  from producer to fork. 

The producer’s label could now be tagged to any of the seeds he sells – and a label also gives a chance to either carry ore information on the seeds or carry a code giving access to more information via a mobile device. This would allow a tracing and tracking alongside the supply chain like it is already done with the help of SAP Rural Sourcing Management: Agri 2: SAP Rural Sourcing Management – by Christian Merz.  A farmer equipped with mobile device could easily check the quality of the source against the high quality producer register or ‘database’.

But not only that: from our implementations of SAP Rural Sourcing Management we also know how effective the tools can be used to distribute information on the positive impact of high quality seeds and other background information to the farmer. An answer to the ‘growers’ limited knowledge of the availability of such seed and its
productivity and economic benefits’.

What we can only indirectly influence is the higher price – but if you look at the Ghana Shea example in youtube: ‘Sustainable Business in  Ghana’   – there are ways to increase the income of farmers by using ICT and also ways to provide microcredits.

I am sure if we dug deeper into the challenges – deeper as we can dig in a blog – we would fnd many more ways to support the ‘quality assurance’ in this area! I
am very open to further discussions. 

The same process could be adapted to high quality fertilizers as well.

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