Formal And Informal Seed System Essay

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Formal and Informal Seed Systems
Farmers, particularly smallholder farmers, use many systems to access seeds. The formal seed system can be characterized by a clear chain of activities. It usually starts with plant breeding and promotes materials for formal variety release and maintenance. Regulations exist in this system to maintain variety identity and purity as well as to guarantee physical, physiological and sanitary quality. Seed marketing takes place through officially recognized seed outlets, and by way of national agricultural research systems (Louwaars 1994) and even through relief seed programs. The central premise of the formal system is that there is a clear distinction between ‘seed’ and ‘grain’. Formal systems are especially important when seed is used to grow crops for commercial purposes (for example export or further food processing) and the uniformity and high quality of the product has to be guaranteed.
The informal seed system is basically what the formal system is not. Seed related activities tend to be integrated and locally organized, and the informal system embraces most of the other ways in which farmers themselves produce, disseminate and procure seed: directly from their own harvest, through barter among friends, neighbors
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Because its market price is often two or three times higher than maize (the grain with the largest volume of production), teff accounts for the largest share of the total value of cereal production. This higher and relatively more stable price is one of the main reasons that teff is grown by a total of 6.2 million farmers, primarily as a cash crop for urban consumers. Since teff farm operations, such as land preparation, weeding and harvesting are highly labour intensive with limited availability of suitable mechanical technology, there are no large-scale teff producers in the

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