Visualizing Information on Seeds Using Technology in Africa (TASAI-VISTA)
The timely availability of high-quality, affordable seeds is critical to improving food security, resilience, and livelihoods for smallholder farmers in Africa. Specifically, monitoring seed systems enables us to diagnose gaps and prioritize needs to ensure food security. 1
Seed systems are the network of actors and institutions that facilitate a farmer’s access to seeds. The formal seed sector focuses on breeding and evaluating improved varieties, as well as producing, processing, and marketing certified seed. In the formal system, these activities and responsible institutions are all defined in the seed law and regulations. 2
Supporting Seed Systems
Since 2019, in partnership with The African Seed Access Index (TASAI), DG through the VISTA program has been working to help decision-makers, public sector, development partners, private sector businesses, and farmers visualize and use data to support a fully functional formal seed system. Currently, TASAI manually collects information on 21 indicators in 20 countries. DG is working to digitize the data collection and validation process through digital survey tools. The collected data will be transformed from traditional narrative reports in PDF into easy-to-understand data visualizations and a publicly accessible dashboard. The dashboard will assess seed quality, availability, accessibility, and price in 16 countries in Africa.
DG is working with TASAI to ensure that the indicators are gender-sensitive and on mapping stakeholders to better understand and meet user needs. Finally, as TASAI is still a newer non-profit organization, DG is advising TASAI on monitoring and evaluation plans, administrative systems, and future funding. By digitizing the data processes, creating an actionable dashboard, and supporting TASAI as the organization grows, DG is working to diagnose information use gaps, ensure a sustainable impact on the larger seed system, and improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers.
Fertilizer Technical Working Groups Provide Key Insights into Africa’s Fertilizer Sector
From June 2021 to September 2022, Development Gateway: An IREX Venture’s (DG’s) Visualizing Insights on Fertilizer for African Agriculture (VIFAA) program convened 12 Fertilizer Technical Working Groups in 14 countries which have yielded essential information on Africa’s fertilizer sector, including insights on how geopolitical events have impacted the fertilizer sector and what is needed to mitigate resulting threats to food security throughout Africa.
The Cashew-IN Platform: An Assessment of the Cashew Sectors in Five Countries (Part 2)
In the first part of this blog series, we discussed the CALM assessment of the cashew data ecosystem, key findings from the assessment, and how DG is using the findings as well as partner and stakeholder feedback to guide the development of the Cashew-IN platform, a website that will facilitate access to and use of data to improve decision-making for policymakers, farmers, and the private sector. In this blog, we will look at the indicators on the Cashew-IN platform and what the data is telling us about the cashew sector more broadly.
The Cashew-IN Platform: A Deep Dive on Designing to Meet Stakeholder Needs (Part 1)
The Cashew-IN program, which DG started in partnership with Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture in 2020, conducted a landscape assessment of the data in the cashew sectors of five countries: Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Nigeria. The assessment findings will inform the Cashew-IN platform, a website that the program is developing to facilitate use of data in order to improve decision-making for policymakers, farmers, and the private sector. In this blog (part 1 of 2), we explore the assessment process, findings, and how stakeholders plan to use the platform.