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The paper presents findings from an investigation of changes in the vegetable market system in Bangladesh, resulting from the introduction of seed mini-packets and related innovations in communication of information to small-holder farmers by mobile seed vendors. It also looked at how those changes affected local farmers and their households. The interventions were facilitated by Action for Enterprise, working for the Katalyst Phase II programme run by Swisscontact. The assessment was conducted between May and August 2013 with support from USAID-funded FIELD-Support LWA project.
The project aimed to increase small marginal farmers and homestead gardeners' access to quality seed, by assisting local seed companies to develop and market mini-packets of quality seed for sale, in order to reduce their dependency on lower quality seed.
The impact of introducing mini-packets of seeds was assessed both quantitatively and qualitatively. Before the market assessment, a review was conducted of secondary data related to the Bangladesh seed industry, in order to understand the historical trends in the vegetable seed market system. The quantitative analysis involved collecting sales data from the two companies marketing mini-packets. The project undertook several quantitative surveys of mini-packet users, in order to understand the impact that the mini-packets were having at the household level. Monitoring activities also provided data on the effects that mini-packets of high quality seed were having on seed purchasing habits, cultivation practices, and yields at the household level. A total of 30 in depth interviews were done with farmers: 15 with mini-packet purchasers and 15 with non-purchasers, to assess their decisions about, experiences with, and perceptions of mini-packet seeds compared to other seeds. Two geographic regions were selected for the field work due to their relatively high level of sales of mini-packets, and their location in different parts of the country, which enabled a comparison of trends between two different geographical conditions.
Anyone working in seed improvement, looking to develop the local market system to positively impact local farmers in Bangladesh.