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This paper explores the experience of ÉLAN RDC’s efforts to facilitate the emergence of an effective seed industry in the DRC. It explores the rationale behind work to improve the enabling environment and the data-oriented strategy adopted in order to allow different sectors to constructively work towards a common goal: poverty reduction for smallholder farmers through increased agricultural productivity.

It concludes that different actors, for example the private sector and the humanitarian sector, may work in similar areas but have vastly different understandings of constraints and opportunities. Humanitarian actors previously operated on the assumption that such commercial sale of seeds to smallholder farmers was impossible.

The lack of a comprehensive policy framework means that humanitarian actors intervene in ways that do not adequately consider private sector dynamics and stifle the development of a private seed industry in the country.