Thirty-two seed companies are assessed for the Eastern and Southern Africa index on six measurement areas considered key for increasing access to quality seeds of improved varieties for smallholder farmers in the region. The ranking includes 13 global and 19 regional companies selling vegetable and field crops important for the food and income security of smallholder farmers in the region.

The top ten is a mix of six global and four regional companies. Bayer, based in Germany, leads the 2021 Eastern and Southern Africa index with 69.9 out of 100. However, only the top seven companies score above 50%, showing that high-ranking companies still have improvements in performance and disclosure of their activities that support smallholder farmer development. In addition, 11 companies follow with a score above 20%, leaving almost half of the index companies to score below 20%. The long tail of low-performing companies raises concerns about the industry’s efforts to reach smallholder farmers and a lack of transparency in case companies have good practices that the industry can learn from.

Bayer has been assessed for the first time on the regional index and its’ top rank is based on a well-developed strategy for ensuring access to seeds for smallholder farmers under the chairman of the management boards and solid knowledge-sharing initiatives. Agriscope Africa (East African Seed), in the second position, had led the 2019 index, two places higher than in 2016. The company performs well across all measurement areas leading in capacity building with programmes for women smallholder farmers and a mobile application designed to provide agronomic information to its customers. East-West Seed which topped the first 2016 regional index, ranks in the third position in 2021, just like 2019. The company has a smallholder-centric business model and has shown continuous improvement in governance and strategy since 2016, with supervisory board oversight over its access to seeds strategy and stakeholder engagement practices.

Remarkably, global companies are catching up with regional companies with strong distribution channels to reach smallholder farmers at the farm gate. Also, global companies still outpace their regional peers in comprehensive access to seeds strategies, as observed in 2019. In addition, global companies support the conservation of genetic resources and share the benefits resulting from their use of publicly available genetic materials fundamental for developing new varieties for sustainable food production. A few leading regional companies show strength in capacity-building activities, but many regional companies fail to disclose information, ranking at the lower end.

Ranking overview

32 companies

Total score out of 100 Governance and strategy out of 10 Genetic resources and intellectual property management out of 15 Research and development out of 20 Seed production out of 15 Marketing and sales out of 25 Capacity building out of 15
1 Bayer
Total score 69.9 / 100
Governance and strategy 7.5 / 10
Genetic resources and intellectual property management 8.8 / 15
Research and development 13.3 / 20
Seed production 10.3 / 15
Marketing and sales 18.8 / 25
Capacity building 11.3 / 15
2 Agriscope Africa (East African Seed)
Total score 66.6 / 100
Governance and strategy 6.7 / 10
Genetic resources and intellectual property management 6.3 / 15
Research and development 14.2 / 20
Seed production 11.3 / 15
Marketing and sales 13.3 / 25
Capacity building 15.0 / 15
3 East-West Seed
Total score 64.3 / 100
Governance and strategy 8.3 / 10
Genetic resources and intellectual property management 8.1 / 15
Research and development 16.7 / 20
Seed production 6.6 / 15
Marketing and sales 15.6 / 25
Capacity building 9.0 / 15
4 Advanta
Total score 62.0 / 100
Governance and strategy 6.7 / 10
Genetic resources and intellectual property management 9.4 / 15
Research and development 11.7 / 20
Seed production 7.5 / 15
Marketing and sales 14.1 / 25
Capacity building 12.8 / 15
5 Syngenta Group
Total score 58.8 / 100
Governance and strategy 5.0 / 10
Genetic resources and intellectual property management 11.3 / 15
Research and development 12.5 / 20
Seed production 8.4 / 15
Marketing and sales 15.6 / 25
Capacity building 6.0 / 15
6 Rijk Zwaan
Total score 58.6 / 100
Governance and strategy 4.2 / 10
Genetic resources and intellectual property management 10.6 / 15
Research and development 11.7 / 20
Seed production 8.4 / 15
Marketing and sales 12.5 / 25
Capacity building 11.3 / 15
7 Seed Co
Total score 55.6 / 100
Governance and strategy 3.3 / 10
Genetic resources and intellectual property management 5.6 / 15
Research and development 14.2 / 20
Seed production 10.3 / 15
Marketing and sales 10.2 / 25
Capacity building 12.0 / 15
8 Novalliance Group
Total score 48.1 / 100
Governance and strategy 1.7 / 10
Genetic resources and intellectual property management 3.1 / 15
Research and development 13.3 / 20
Seed production 8.4 / 15
Marketing and sales 12.5 / 25
Capacity building 9.0 / 15
9 FICA Seeds
Total score 42.0 / 100
Governance and strategy 2.5 / 10
Genetic resources and intellectual property management 6.3 / 15
Research and development 5.0 / 20
Seed production 7.5 / 15
Marketing and sales 11.7 / 25
Capacity building 9.0 / 15
10 Corteva Agriscience
Total score 38.6 / 100
Governance and strategy 4.2 / 10
Genetic resources and intellectual property management 5.0 / 15
Research and development 6.7 / 20
Seed production 6.6 / 15
Marketing and sales 12.5 / 25
Capacity building 3.8 / 15
11 Sakata
Total score 37.6 / 100
Governance and strategy 0.0 / 10
Genetic resources and intellectual property management 1.9 / 15
Research and development 9.2 / 20
Seed production 6.6 / 15
Marketing and sales 11.7 / 25
Capacity building 8.3 / 15
12 Limagrain
Total score 35.1 / 100
Governance and strategy 3.3 / 10
Genetic resources and intellectual property management 6.9 / 15
Research and development 10.0 / 20
Seed production 5.6 / 15
Marketing and sales 7.0 / 25
Capacity building 2.3 / 15
13 Victoria Seeds
Total score 32.4 / 100
Governance and strategy 5.8 / 10
Genetic resources and intellectual property management 3.1 / 15
Research and development 2.5 / 20
Seed production 4.7 / 15
Marketing and sales 12.5 / 25
Capacity building 3.8 / 15
14 BASF
Total score 31.0 / 100
Governance and strategy 0.0 / 10
Genetic resources and intellectual property management 4.4 / 15
Research and development 5.8 / 20
Seed production 8.4 / 15
Marketing and sales 9.4 / 25
Capacity building 3.0 / 15
15 Kenya Highland Seed
Total score 23.4 / 100
Governance and strategy 2.5 / 10
Genetic resources and intellectual property management 2.5 / 15
Research and development 1.7 / 20
Seed production 2.8 / 15
Marketing and sales 11.7 / 25
Capacity building 2.3 / 15
16 Takii
Total score 23.2 / 100
Governance and strategy 0.0 / 10
Genetic resources and intellectual property management 2.5 / 15
Research and development 8.3 / 20
Seed production 4.7 / 15
Marketing and sales 5.5 / 25
Capacity building 2.3 / 15
17 Enza Zaden
Total score 20.7 / 100
Governance and strategy 0.8 / 10
Genetic resources and intellectual property management 3.1 / 15
Research and development 6.7 / 20
Seed production 4.7 / 15
Marketing and sales 3.9 / 25
Capacity building 1.5 / 15
18 Bejo
Total score 20.2 / 100
Governance and strategy 0.0 / 10
Genetic resources and intellectual property management 6.3 / 15
Research and development 4.2 / 20
Seed production 2.8 / 15
Marketing and sales 4.7 / 25
Capacity building 2.3 / 15
19 Starke Ayres
Total score 19.1 / 100
Governance and strategy 0.0 / 10
Genetic resources and intellectual property management 1.3 / 15
Research and development 5.8 / 20
Seed production 2.8 / 15
Marketing and sales 5.5 / 25
Capacity building 3.8 / 15
20 Demeter Seed
Total score 16.5 / 100
Governance and strategy 0.8 / 10
Genetic resources and intellectual property management 0.0 / 15
Research and development 2.5 / 20
Seed production 4.7 / 15
Marketing and sales 4.7 / 25
Capacity building 3.8 / 15
21 Klien Karoo Africa
Total score 15.9 / 100
Governance and strategy 0.8 / 10
Genetic resources and intellectual property management 0.0 / 15
Research and development 4.2 / 20
Seed production 4.7 / 15
Marketing and sales 4.7 / 25
Capacity building 1.5 / 15
22 Mukushi Seeds
Total score 15.7 / 100
Governance and strategy 0.8 / 10
Genetic resources and intellectual property management 0.0 / 15
Research and development 8.3 / 20
Seed production 1.9 / 15
Marketing and sales 3.1 / 25
Capacity building 1.5 / 15
- Stewards Globe
Total score 15.7 / 100
Governance and strategy 1.7 / 10
Genetic resources and intellectual property management 0.0 / 15
Research and development 5.8 / 20
Seed production 2.8 / 15
Marketing and sales 3.1 / 25
Capacity building 2.3 / 15
24 Hygrotech
Total score 13.7 / 100
Governance and strategy 0.0 / 10
Genetic resources and intellectual property management 0.0 / 15
Research and development 6.7 / 20
Seed production 0.0 / 15
Marketing and sales 7.0 / 25
Capacity building 0.0 / 15
25 Kenya Seed Company
Total score 12.9 / 100
Governance and strategy 0.8 / 10
Genetic resources and intellectual property management 0.0 / 15
Research and development 5.0 / 20
Seed production 0.9 / 15
Marketing and sales 3.9 / 25
Capacity building 2.3 / 15
26 Darusalam Seed Company
Total score 9.3 / 100
Governance and strategy 2.5 / 10
Genetic resources and intellectual property management 0.0 / 15
Research and development 0.0 / 20
Seed production 3.8 / 15
Marketing and sales 0.8 / 25
Capacity building 2.3 / 15
27 NASECO
Total score 8.3 / 100
Governance and strategy 0.0 / 10
Genetic resources and intellectual property management 0.0 / 15
Research and development 3.3 / 20
Seed production 1.9 / 15
Marketing and sales 3.1 / 25
Capacity building 0.0 / 15
28 Capstone Seeds
Total score 8.2 / 100
Governance and strategy 0.0 / 10
Genetic resources and intellectual property management 0.0 / 15
Research and development 3.3 / 20
Seed production 0.9 / 15
Marketing and sales 3.9 / 25
Capacity building 0.0 / 15
- KWS
Total score 8.2 / 100
Governance and strategy 0.8 / 10
Genetic resources and intellectual property management 5.0 / 15
Research and development 0.0 / 20
Seed production 0.0 / 15
Marketing and sales 2.3 / 25
Capacity building 0.0 / 15
30 Equator Seeds
Total score 3.5 / 100
Governance and strategy 0.8 / 10
Genetic resources and intellectual property management 0.0 / 15
Research and development 0.0 / 20
Seed production 1.9 / 15
Marketing and sales 0.8 / 25
Capacity building 0.0 / 15
31 Zamseed
Total score 3.4 / 100
Governance and strategy 0.0 / 10
Genetic resources and intellectual property management 0.0 / 15
Research and development 0.0 / 20
Seed production 1.9 / 15
Marketing and sales 1.6 / 25
Capacity building 0.0 / 15
32 EABC
Total score 3.3 / 100
Governance and strategy 0.0 / 10
Genetic resources and intellectual property management 0.0 / 15
Research and development 0.0 / 20
Seed production 0.9 / 15
Marketing and sales 2.3 / 25
Capacity building 0.0 / 15