Skip to content
BY-NC-ND 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access June 14, 2017

Strategies for the development of the sweetpotato early generation seed sector in eastern and southern Africa

  • Srinivasulu Rajendran EMAIL logo , Lydia N. Kimenye and Margaret McEwan
From the journal Open Agriculture


Smallholders in Eastern and Southern Africa(ESA) have limited access to timely availability of quality sweetpotato seed which contributes to sub-optimal root yields. To enhance availability and access to quality seed it is necessary to link formal plant breeding efforts to a sustainable seed supply system by means of identifying business opportunities for sweetpotato Early Generation Seed (EGS) producers. In most ESA countries, public institutions have the sole mandate for EGS production, but have not adopted an explicit business orientation. The study used primary information collected from business plans prepared by eight National Agricultural Research Institutions(NARIs) in seven countries in ESA. This study first analyzed the overall business opportunities for public institutions using a Strengths, Weaknesses Opportunities, and Threats(SWOT) tool and then a Threats, Opportunities, Weaknesses and Strengths (TOWS) approach was used to transform the SWOT results into strategies for the further development of the early generation seed sector. It was concluded that over a five to ten year period, the NARIs do have a business case for production of sweetpotato EGS. However, to capitalise on this NARIs and policy makers need to take up there commendations from the TOWS analysis to refine strategies for exploiting opportunities in the business environment and for mitigating weaknesses to reduce vulnerability to any identified threats to the potential business in EGS.


FAO, FAOSTAT-Statistical Database, 2015. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, 2015Search in Google Scholar

Lanteri S., Quagliotti L., Problems related to seed production in the African Countries. Euphytica, 1997, 96, 173-18310.1023/A:1002958325142Search in Google Scholar

Louwaars N.P., De Boef W.S., Integrated Seed Sector Development in Africa: A Conceptual Framework for Creating Coherence between Practices, Programs and Policies. Journal of Crop Improvement, 2012, 26, 39-5910.1080/15427528.2011.611277Search in Google Scholar

McEwan M., Almekinders C., Abidin P E., Andrade M., Carey T., Gibson R., Naico A., Namanda S., Schulz S., “Can small still be beautiful? Moving local sweetpotato seed systems to scale in sub-Saharan Africa”. In: Low, JW. et al. (eds.) African Potato and Sweetpotato Value Chains: Transformations for Food Security and Nutrition’. Nairobi: CABI, 2015Search in Google Scholar

Rajendran S., Afari-Sefa V., Karanja D.K., Musebed R., Romneye D., Makaranga M.A., Samali S., Kessy R.F., Farmer-led Seed Enterprise Initiatives to Access Certified Seed for Traditional African Vegetables and its Effect on Incomes in Tanzania, International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, 2016, 19(1), 1-24Search in Google Scholar

McEwan M., Early Generation Seed Production - Can public sector institutions and NARIs shift to a business orientation?, Sweetpotato Knowledge Portal, 28 October 2016, in Google Scholar

McEwan M., Rajendran S., Is there a business case for early generation seed?, Sweetpotato Knowledge Portal, September 2016, in Google Scholar

Rajendran S., Commercializing quality planting material: a case of sweetpotato in eastern and western Africa, Sweetpotato Knowledge Portal, 17th January, 2017, in Google Scholar

Dyson R. G., Strategic development and SWOT analysis at the University of Warwick. European Journal of Operational Research, 2004, 152, 631-64010.1016/S0377-2217(03)00062-6Search in Google Scholar

Received: 2016-11-21
Accepted: 2017-4-13
Published Online: 2017-6-14
Published in Print: 2017-2-23

© 2017

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License.

Downloaded on 3.12.2023 from
Scroll to top button