An SSSA focuses on the functioning of seed channels that smallholder farmers use. Channels might include, inter alia, home stocks or seed obtained from social networks, local open markets, or formal sector venues, such as commercial companies, government, or research stations. The SSSA hones in on key questions around each channel. Is seed is available; can farmers access it; and is the quality what farmers want and need? Hence, an SSSA has to use a rainbow of methods to understand key constraints and opportunities of diverse channels. It also captures insights from diverse perspectives: for instance, a market trader may assess seed quality differently from an agro-dealer; or women farmers may want varieties which are different from those preferred by men.

The tools presented herein have been carefully prepared by seed system and livelihood specialists. The sets have been tested in contexts of war, political strife, drought, flood and earthquake, as well in areas mainly just described as ‘dirt poor’. They also prove to be sufficiently flexible to cover concerns across the range of crops: cereals, legumes, or vegetatively-propagated crops.

The results of an assessment are only as good as the tools and techniques used. We believe the tools and techniques presented to be rigorous and rapid and accessible to non-specialists. Hence our SSSA aims to be “quick and smart”.

(See overall assessment guide for broad plan in which tools are used.)

Background ConsultanciesFocus GroupsIndividual Household Questionnaire and Linked Data Management and Data Analysis ToolsMarket Analysis ToolsKey Informant Guides