Seed System is a collaboration among diverse national and international organizations aiming to improve seed security in high stress and vulnerable areas across the world.

About This Website

This website is dedicated to strengthening smallholder farmers’ seed systems. is for practitioners, researchers, managers, policy-makers and donors working in humanitarian relief and agricultural development. Let us move forward as a Community of Practice that promotes seed system security and puts the needs of women and men farmers fully front and center. This site shares resources (tried-and-tested technical guidance!) and has three main aims:

  • to improve intervention practice;
  • to improve assessment;
  • to improve strategic thinking around seed system response and seed system development.

Humanitarian Relief

During periods of disaster–whether drought, flood, earthquakes, political instability, civil strife or displacement—seed system responses need to take place quickly. Good interventions can bolster vulnerable seed systems in sustainable ways; poor interventions do real harm—compromise farmers’ food security and create dependencies. offers practical ‘how- to’ advice to guide immediate humanitarian response. It starts step-by-step with the assessment—the seed system security assessment (SSSA)—and then moves to key responses—bolstering markets, promoting resilience and putting farmers in the decision-making chair.

Chronic Stress and Seed System Development focuses equally on interventions for chronic stress regions, areas that are environmentally harsh and/or lacking development institutions and innovations. Tools and approaches seek to spur plant breeding, seed production and delivery, and agro-enterprise responses that serve diverse types of farmers. One size rarely fits all and poor, vulnerable farmers deserve interventions tailored to their needs—really practical and sustainable solutions. We welcome you to this site. Make liberal use of the practice briefs, system assessment tools, diagnostic manuals, background reviews, and policy guides. Most of all, comment, share, give feedback. Let us work together to make seed system interventions more effective!


The Alliance of Bioversity International and International Center for Tropical Agriculture

The Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture delivers research-based solutions that address the global crises of malnutrition, climate change, biodiversity loss, and environmental degradation. A member of the CGIAR Consortium, the Alliance focuses on the nexus of agriculture, nutrition and environment. We work with local, national, and multinational partners across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean, and with public and private sectors, as well as civil society. With novel partnerships, the Alliance generates evidence and mainstream innovations to transform food systems and landscapes so that they sustain the planet, drive prosperity, and nourish people.


Pan Africa Bean Research Alliance – PABRA

The Pan-Africa Bean Research Alliance (PABRA), established in 1996, aims to improve food security, income and health of smallholder farmers and urban dwellers across Africa through bean research. Facilitated by the Alliance, , PABRA  works in partnership with more than 600  partners and members across 31 countries to strengthen national bean programs, and develop and disseminate new bean technologies. As a result of these collective efforts, improved bean varieties and production practices have reached over 19.5 million rural households. We also believe that by increasing the competitiveness of bean markets, we can provide consumers with better products and contribute to the economic growth of our member countries. Moreover, the Alliance has helped a number of African nations bounce back from conflict and high stress situations. For instance, Rwanda has transformed climbing beans from a subsistence crop into a cash crop, and is now a net bean exporter. In Ethiopia, the average yield nearly doubled, from 0.86 tons per ha to 1.49 tons per ha between 2004 and 2014. South Sudan is the 29th   country to join the PABRA alliance (in 2013).

Catholic Relief Services

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) was founded in 1943 by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops to assist the poor and disadvantaged overseas. CRS’ mission statement calls the agency to alleviate human suffering, advance full human development, and foster charity and justice in the world. While CRS seeks to capitalize on its strategic advantages as a faith based organization, all of its programs assist persons on the basis of need, regardless of creed, ethnicity or nationality. CRS is one of the world’s largest private voluntary organizations, supporting relief and development work in more than 100 countries and territories worldwide. Because much of its work is focused on the rural poor, agriculture is a key priority. CRS implements agriculture programs in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. CRS focuses on smallholder farmers and collaborates with farmers through participatory methods, building upon and improving current practices, and developing sustainable agricultural strategies accordingly. CRS programs impact entire farming systems, seeking diversity for stability of production and income, integration with household nutrition, gender, and other socio-economic factors. CRS is a leader in the PVO community in regards to seed systems in both relief and development situations. Our publications on this topic can be found both on this SeedSystem website and on our home website at (About Us/Publications).

The United States Agency for International Development

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is an independent government agency that provides economic, development, and humanitarian assistance around the world in support of the foreign policy goals of the United States. Within USAID, the Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) is responsible for leading and coordinating the U.S. Government’s response to disasters overseas.  It harnesses the expertise and unique capacities of other US government entities to effectively respond to natural disasters and complex crises around the world.

BHA takes a holistic look at humanitarian aid, providing assistance before, during and after a crisis—from readiness and response, to relief and recovery. This includes non-emergency programming that is foundational to linking humanitarian assistance to long-term development and the journey to self-reliance.  www.usaid.gov